Location: Direction Island, Coco's Keeling
The day started pretty average, eating pumpkin bread anchored in the bluest water most of us have ever seen, surrounded by a chain of islands with a population of 500 and palm trees so exquisite you can see the detail of them from a quarter of a mile away. After cleanup, the first dive of the day started for those hoping to get their open water advanced certification. I was one of these people, but unfortunately, my dreams were shattered by the gruesome combination of scuba diving and congestion. The first 10 seconds of the dive went great for me until I could no longer equalize, and for the sake of my eardrum, I decided to return to the surface. Despite this change of plans, I took it upon myself to snorkel above the successful divers as a lookout for possible danger and to save a life if needed (I have dived less than six times in my entire life). I watched them swim in pairs, making square formations as this was a navigation dive, and they had to use their compasses to swim a certain distance and back. I enjoyed swimming right above pairs of divers as their bubbles would come to the surface, and I could satisfyingly dive down and be surrounded by them, seeing nothing but tiny bubbles. Picture an animated PowerPoint transition or a shot used to cut to the next scene of a movie: that’s what it felt like. Eventually, my irrational fear of sharks got the best of me, and all I could think about was the tiny black-tip reef sharks we had commonly seen around the boat and went back to Vela. After lunch, the uncongested divers adventured on a boat dive in which I was told they practiced doing backflips, so I’m not really sure how that has anything to do with boats, but it sounded fun nonetheless. With little hope of equalizing on the next dive, I had no choice but to stay on Vela and study for the upcoming Marine Biology Exam. Due to the early watch I had the night before and the two extra naan bread I had at lunch, this study session quickly turned into nap time. I was awoken not too long after to the feeling of water being dripped on my face from someone hanging their wetsuit directly above the open hatch over my bunk. I emerged onto the deck to see others studying or journaling or people who had given up studying or journaling to watch Jake play people in Mario Kart. For dinner, Siena made mac and cheese, and it was just as good as it was when she made it exactly 25 days ago. With no job to do after dinner, I decided to oversee the dishy pit as their personal DJ. Ruby as a salty, her phobia of cheese, and Griffin’s energetic dancing proved both equally entertaining. After dinner, we had a quick leadership class where we were given piles of seemingly random black and white cards. We had to choose 3: something that represents what you are proud of in yourself, something that represents what you bring to the table, and something that represents what you want to work on within yourself. It was a nice change of pace to hear everyone sharing in a serious setting. After leadership, I started making breakfast knowing I was head chef tomorrow: an impulsive decision to put chocolate in the granola, despite Lucia’s warning that it would burn in the oven, led to my downfall the following morning.