Flight In & First Day

1

On July 3rd I painfully woke up at 3:55 AM for the 7:05 flight through American Airlines. Outside of my morning ritual, I said goodbye to my close friends due to the lack of cellular connection in the area of our stay and hurriedly packed my small backpack with a book, my class folder, iPad, a change of clothes, sunglasses, and, most importantly, my passport. In the aftermath of small delays, our group of eighteen students arrived in Puerto Rico; only to encounter a six hour layover. The time was spent throwing frisbees four feet to the person sitting across from us or setting up laptops to watch movies as a group, or even bravely venturing out in a quest for airport lunch. 6:55 PM arrived as our small prop plane departed for Beef Island Tortola in the overcast sky. Through the engine rumble and turbulence I managed to secure thirty minutes for a nap before landing in the foreign territory of the British Virgin Islands. Stepping onto the runway, the ocean breeze cooled the air considerably, removing all focus on the climate and allowing me to gaze into the night sky full of stars. After passing the immigration desks, our troop marched to the water, encountering Casey and Jeff from the Dive BVI staff, who bore the gifts of a transport boat loaded with pizza. Following the travel from Tortola to Virgin Gorda, we drove (on the left side of course) to our cabin site; I was assigned to “Mango”. The day then started at 6:20 the next morning with a brief introduction to office policies and breakfast in a restaurant on the harbor, the hot oats I ate were indeed hot. After our meal we were divided into two sections, one to the boat “Sea Monkey”, the other to the superior, more advanced “Sea Dragon”. On our first dive off of George Dog Island our group, lead by the Hungarian captain, Zoltan, and practiced diving skills. The second dive was much more fruitful, diving through underwater canyons and discovering spotted moray eels, and multitudes of squirrel, parrot, and butterfly fish. The chimney, which the sight is famed for, consists of two sheer walls that separate slightly to form a crevice. The walls of the chimney, red as lava and sharp as razor blades, exist merely two and half feet from each other, a space that left me claustrophobic and scratched when traversed. Despite several minor communication errors during the dives, our entire group of Luke, Anthony, Davis, and myself thrived in the water and look forward to our future dives and finds. After returning to our cabins and having a short beach lunch, the class took a 3/4 mile snorkel to The Baths, a group of morphologically clustered rocks between two bays. The snorkeling expedition ended with our return to the original beach, leaving us to free time. I have spent my free time removing the sand and salt from my gear and body before relaxing to write in the air-conditioned office, waiting as the afternoon bleeds into evening.

  • Elizabeth Bramlett

    Beautifully written!