Location: Kuda Bandos, Maldives

It is crazy to think that we are already one-third of the way through the trip! Tonight we will have our MTE exam, in which we will demonstrate our knowledge of all things nautical, and I am happy to announce we will all beaching it after a few hours of free time this morning. This afternoon was spent dedicated to studying or napping for the few who were already fully prepared. Between the studious review sessions that were filled with diagrams and people practicing their boat horn sounds (I can now identify each shipmate based on their imitation of a ship’s horn alone), the dive groups went out for another dive. The first group apparently saw the most sea anemones they had ever seen in their life, but also dealt with quite the current, so for group two, we moved back towards our original anchorage near Kuda Bandos. Yesterday’s diving was so fast-paced, exciting, and filled with new creatures (how about that massive Napoleon or those eagle rays or sea turtles?). Today’s dive, however, was quite the contrast. It was incredibly relaxing, and we had plenty of time to stop and appreciate any and every piece of coral or fish that caught our eye. Of course, I enjoyed both days, but I was very thankful to have a slower day to allow myself to really get comfortable under the water and thoroughly survey the unfamiliar ocean scenery that was so abuzz with life. In other news today, Hunter completed several of the rescue scenario dives for his Divemaster certification, with Katie acting as his panicking diver that he has to rescue. The group doing their oceanography project on diurnal migrations of plankton also conducted plankton tows during the day and after dark from our dinghy Smoke. We all reconvened for a delicious dinner of Pad Thai, and now it is time for oceanography and then our MTE test!