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Location: Barbados

Hello again, friends!

I make my return as skipper for a thrilling tale of our first full day in the magical Barbados. Apparently, Rihanna is currently here, and the chance of seeing everyone’s favorite global superstar looms on the horizon (wish us luck for a chance encounter).
The morning started with a fabulous breakfast of fresh-baked muffins courtesy of the ever-talented Eems, our very own world-class Vela chef extraordinaire. Throughout breakfast, the anticipation in the air was palpable: today marked the very first day of diving for our future Open Water Certified divers, and everyone couldn’t wait to take their very first breaths underwater. But before that happened, it was exam time. While the certified divers hit a fun dive on a gorgeous close-by reef, our crew took some critical knowledge tests required in order to take them down into the deep blue.
I was part of the reef-dive team and was elated to see some radical fish specimens that we learned the names of in Marine Biology. Shoutout to Meg. Dives are so much more awesome when one can identify the reef fish they’re seeing!
Our Open Water gang hit the tanks and regulators while the certified group stayed above the surface. That marked the start of an epic island adventure.
Conor, Tom, Laszlo, and I trudged towards a rumored town in blistering heat, unsure of our destination, blindly hoping for at least a cold soda at the end of our time ashore. And then we saw it. Like a rainbow after rain, a colorfully painted bus emerged, the savior of our shore time (and also our increasingly bad sunburns, sorry, Mom). We were beckoned onto the bus, which would take us to the capital of Barbados, Bridgetown. But the journey wasn’t over yet. In a turn of events, the bus itself quickly became a highlight of our day: blasting crazy beat-heavy rap music, interrupted every five seconds by an overly-enthusiastic DJ, we quickly found ourselves not only on a method of transportation but a lively opportunity for a (seated) dance party. Reaching speeds of up to sixty miles per hour (as estimated by Conor), we rocketed toward Bridgetown. And Bridgetown did not disappoint.
For the next three hours, we explored the vibrant city aptly appointed the capital of Barbados. Full of overflowing market stands, friendly locals, and beautiful beaches, Bridgetown was every bit the bustling metropolis we had hoped for after spending so long at sea. We quickly acquired our long-anticipated sodas at a beachside restaurant and enjoyed the view of the white sands and crystal clear waters. But before long, it was time to return home to Vela.
Sadly for our motley crew of weary adventurers, there was no party bus on the way home; instead, we were met with a quiet and relaxing ride back to our marina.
Upon arrival, we were met with tales of adventure from our Open Water crew: they had an incredible time completing their confined-water dives, and everyone passed with flying colors. I particularly loved hearing Arielle share her newfound affinity for diving, and it sounds to me like we have a future Divemaster on our hands. On to more reef dives tomorrow!
To finish up the day, the group enjoyed a delicious meal at sunset. For squeeze, my question to everyone was, “you have just crash landed in the deep jungle, the sole survivors are you and the person to your left. Will you survive, and if not, how long are you making it?”
I thoroughly enjoyed the cacophony of wild answers that came out of this, and many laughs were shared.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with our first day docked in Barbados or prouder of our amazing Open Water divers taking their first breaths underwater! GO, TEAM!!!

Sending all the love home, and signing off until next time…
~Mads

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