Get This Show on the Ocean

By Natalie Tuke
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"BEEP BEEP BEEEEP!" My alarm rang in my ear. I pried my eyes open and looked around at the pyramids of clothes surrounding my bed. My floor was buried in shoes, bags and socks. I was nervous and excited already; I knew that as soon as I put my feet on the floor I'd have officially started my adventure for the next three weeks.

I eventually forced myself out of my comfy bed and checked that everything was in place. Before you know it I heard, "Time for you to go to the Caribbeannnnn, baby!" It was my mom.

Can you say deja vu? I'm pretty sure those are the exact words my mom said last summer before I headed out, too. I have to laugh at the ridiculous things my mom says. It sounds like she's in Vegas, winning money from a slot machine. I grabbed all my stuff and shoved it into the car. I was ready to get this show on the road – or should I say, "Get this show on the ocean."

When I arrived at the airport I hugged my mom bye. Finally, I'm free!

I slept the whole flight – next thing I knew I was in Puerto Rico Airport, standing at the gate waiting to go to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. I saw teenagers walking around and knew that at the end of the trip I'd know more than half of them extremely well. I love how that works out.

I was still in the airport and suddenly this guy sitting next to me says, "Hi, I'm Chaz, where are you from?"

"I'm Natalie; I'm from Orlando."

"No way, no way," he said.

"Yes way. Why? Where are you from?" I said eagerly.

"I'm from Orlando too!" Chaz said. The first person I become friends with on a trip is always very important to me, because that's the first person I'm going to remember when I think of that trip.

When we got off the plane we met with an ActionQuest guide who directed us onto a bus. I always love the bus ride because you get to see the island's beauty for the first time. No one really talks because everyone is nervous and you just get to sit back and enjoy.

We arrived at a marina and checked into our boats. My boat was a catamaran called the Cala Doro. My counselors were Chantal and Kate, and the skipper was John. The 11 teenagers on the Cala Doro were going to be in two different groups: the Dolphin group for the ones doing the Marine Biology course (which I was), and the Neptune group for the ones who were getting their advanced open water certification (which I already have).

LIFEWORKS

The next day we woke up early to do a Lifeworks orientation, where we got together and talked about life and other things you should think about. It was really cool and made it a lot easier before we paired up to go on to our own boats.

I also got to meet Jim, the very interesting and knowledgeable man behind this program. I found out he speaks Dutch, which surprised me, and we started to talk to each other in a secret language we both knew. Totally made my day! After that we had some awesome pancakes and departed West End to South Bay on Peter Island.

When we arrived at South Bay we did a dive briefing and skill dive. It's a piece of cake if you're comfortable with your equipment. It also can help if you have a problem with your equipment you didn't know about. It's better to find out on the skill dive than on an actual dive!

I could already tell that my next few weeks were going to be packed with tons of cool events!

PLEASURE DIVING & SAVING POOR BOB

At 7:38 the next morning we set sail for Cooper Island. Our first pleasure dive was on Blue Chromis reef – what a great dive! It was a colorful reef with tons of sea fans and black and white spotted drums, and, of course, blue chromis, which are everywhere in the BVI.

After that we sailed over to Savannah Bay and got to go water skiing! While some of us were water skiing, others did a dinghy check, where you learn how to drive the dinghy and save poor Bob. Bob was actually a dressed-up Personal Floatation Device that dutifully hung out in the water so we could practice how to save real people if they fell overboard.

Reproduced with permission from Bonnier Corporation. All rights reserved.

Published: 25 Sep 2007 | Last Updated: 31 Jul 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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