Location: Palau

Hello everyone!!!

Today we had an amazing day with two dives!!! We started today with breakfast before sending our first group on a deep dive. They went 80 ft and cracked an egg (which stayed together), lost red light vision, and saw a lobster and a turtle! While they were exploring the ocean depths, Perry, Larkin, Nora, Elexia, and I went out on a snorkel near Vela with Kee. I learned how to free dive while we were out there (which made me feel like a mermaid, 10/10 would recommend), saw some squid, and picked up some stray trash. We then had BLT sandwiches for lunch, which we used the fresh lettuce for before my group went for a wreck dive. It was my first one, and I loved it. It was an old WWII ship that was used to salvage things from Bikini Atoll, where the US tested the first atomic bombs. It was massive (about 30 ft longer than Vela) and covered in coral. We saw a lionfish and tons of colorful nudibranchs. At the bottom, there was an old lifeboat and lifejackets (clearly ineffective based on their position at the bottom), which was really interesting to see. After the group got back, we had our second group (the first group went last night after dinner) start their Nav Master course with Drew, where we learned to convert between speed, time, and distance, as well as Dead Reckoning, which is how to tell where you are if your GPS goes out. It wasn’t easy (especially since math isn’t my strong suit), but we all managed to plot courses on the practice map of Chesapeake Bay. We all signed up for our Leadership presentations today, and I’m excited to see how everyone does. Dinner tonight was quesadillas made by Romeo, with help from Kara and Margret, and they were absolutely amazing. We had our third species ID quiz with Ben, featuring tiger sharks, mahi mahi, and two-winged tropical flying fish, and right now, everyone is settling down and watching How to Train Your Dragon.

The last few days in Palau have been incredible and have made me dead set on wanting to major in marine biology (Im about to be a freshman). Seeing everyone’s faces when we got to the port and called home was amazing, and it gave all of us a big boost of energy after a long passage. The country of Palau cut off all service early this morning, so if someone hasn’t called home, that’s why. Lilli and Larkin have fit so perfectly into our group, and I’m loving having two new roommates.

Sending love to my mum, dad, Mimi, Papa, Grandad, and Nina. You all already know that I miss you so much and will talk soon in Raja.

Signing off from the most beautiful place in the world
– Emma