Location: Elba, Italy

Dive Day! Our first morning in Elba got off to a flying start as the crew split into two groups. Those diving with no prior experience found themselves getting their first taste of tank air, as those who wanted to explore some of Napoleon’s island paradise/prison enjoyed their shore leave (and Italy’s best gelato, according to Sam). As one of those with no dives under my weight belt, I personally was both out of my element and simultaneously thrilled to be out of my element. Judging from the wide smiles on the rest of the dive team after surfacing the first time, I would also guess that sentiment is more or less universal.

After lunch, the groups switched and those who went ashore were able to dive, and vice versa. A few of us discovered a gorgeous secluded cove and unintentionally came across some practical Marine Biology homework by nearly stepping on a lone starfish! After dinner we were introduced to the Student Leadership Development course in a quite an innovative fashion: a massive pile of black and white photographs were spread across the floor, and each shipmate picked two each. One was to represent something about themselves they liked, and the other something they didn’t. We explained our choices, and ourselves, to the group. It was the first time I saw everyone open up in a way they hadn’t before, and I think we all came a little closer together as a crew, shipmates, and friends.