Location: Bequia

Hello friends! Today Vela woke up in a fantastic mood. After the first round of night dives yesterday, we all were eager to get back into the water. After breakfast, some students, including myself, went on a beautiful dive throughout a nearby reef. This dive was focused on identifying different types of fish, and it went super well. My diving buddy Maddie and I were able to see a huge porcupine fish (the biggest pufferfish I’ve ever seen), a lionfish, a few cowfish (these were literally the cutest), some blue tang, and a spotted eel. The water was so warm and so clear, and the reef was filled with crazy colorful corals and drop-offs that hid so many fish. It was definitely the best dive I’ve had so far.

After diving, we had an adventurous afternoon onshore. For the first time in who knows long, we were eating at a table in a restaurant outside. It was so much fun being able to get mango smoothies with friends and sit and have conversations around a huge table with amazing views. After our picture-perfect lunch, the group split up to go shopping. We walked around and got snacks and clothes, but the best purchase of the day was Will’s new fishing pole. On the shore, we also met some new friends. Some of the students from Ocean Star were onshore at the same time, and we all met each other and got ice cream. Everyone came back to Vela with a treat, a full belly, and a new friend. It was all around an amazing afternoon. When we got back to the boat, Ethan, Anthony, and Andrea were finishing up dinner in the galley. We ate quickly as the sun was setting so that another group of night divers could get to the dive site right after. While the divers were gone, the other students were all studying together for our VHF Exam tomorrow in our Seamanship course.

It’s almost been one month since we boarded this boat, and looking back on all the things that we have accomplished as a crew is ridiculously amazing. We have received our open-water scuba certifications, and now we are just about halfway finished with our advanced scuba certifications. We have our crew certification that we received in our Seamanship class last week and are about to get our VHF certification tomorrow. But more importantly, we have all grown into a tight family here on Vela. Everyone is becoming closer with each day and finding themselves in different ways. There is a mutual understanding of respect, love, and appreciation for each other here, and each minute is filled with excitement and learning. This has truly been a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I’m so thankful to be here. I’m also thankful for Tom’s creation of the slithering-snake skipper hat.

Hi mom and dad! I miss you guys so so much; I wish you could be living this with me. I’ve been having a blast being in the water every day scuba diving and seeing the cutest sea critters! Skye — I miss you like crazy, and congratulations on your new research position! Also, to my friends from school and from home, I miss you guys, and I can’t wait to see you all soon!

Finally, shoutout to our new homies on Ocean Star; ya’ll are awesome!

Photo 1: Serving up dinner
Photo 2: Anthony and Ethan cooking BBQ chicken with rice
Photo 3: Me in the slithering-snake skipper hat!
Photo 4: Maddie, Max, and I exploring Bequia
Photo 5: Calum, Maddie, and Jordan getting ready for the night dive
Photo 6: Colm and Anthony waking up
Photo 7: Meeting new friends from Ocean Star
Photo 8: Beautiful Bequia!