Alumni Journals & College Essays

Caribbean Master Diver

My Broadreach Experience, by Laurel V

Wow. Where to begin? Should it be with the amazing places we went to? Maybe the Incredibly awesome people that made my boat the BEST ever! Or should I even get into my Dive instructor, Liz, or my Skipper, Gavin. Should I even attempt to describe the breath taking diving? Well, I’ll start from the beginning, and try to make this the most accurate description of something that isn’t able to be described.

The places we went were so beautiful. I miss waking up to an island of beauty, and a day I know was sure to be full of adventure, memories, and laughter. I’ll also NEVER forget the amazing nights where we would look up at the sky and watch the millions of stars. Those were some of the best conversations I had the whole trip, and it seamed like the world was at peace. We went to some of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. I’ll always remember the drive in Saba when we went into town. The view was unbelievable. And the hike we did in Statia. We were on top of a volcano, looking down into it. That’s when we wrote our letters to ourselves, and I can’t wait to get mine. That was one of the most relaxing moments of the trip, the silence of everyone writing their thoughts down onto paper. The Islands were so different, varying from being completely isolated, to the high end of society.

The people I met on my trip were all amazing. I can’t believe I had to leave them. From the moment we took our separate ways, I felt empty, like a part of me was missing. There was realization that everything I had just experienced from the past 17 days was over, and now all I would have left of the trip were the memories and pictures. There was also a realization that I was going back into the ‘real world’ which for me, was school and drama, and sleeping in a real bed! I’m trying to keep up with my Boat, which is hard, but I want our friendships to last for years and years, and we’re trying to organize a reunion (TRYING to…)

I loved our dive instructor, Liz. I feel like she treated us like adults, which is what we needed, and we did a TON of diving with her, which was all amazing, and I’m grateful that she was as into diving as I was! Out skipper, Gavin was also really cool. After the initial part of the trip, where we were just getting to know him, he immediately was making us laugh, and also teaching us how to sail, and take care of a boat.

Now for the diving. I can’t believe I got as many certifications as I was able to! I ended up getting SEVEN specialty certifications! My night, drift, Peak performance Buoyancy, Fish ID, Coral Reef Conservation, Boat, and Naturalist. I also got my rescue diver certification. My rescue course was so awesome! I became so much more confident, and I had a great time doing it. We had lots of laughs, but we also buckled down and got through the bookwork, test, skills and lectures with no problem.

We saw so much cool stuff while we were diving! I never imagined I could see such varied marine life. We saw three octopuses! I was so excited because I’d never seen one before, so this was new to me! I also saw a ton of squids on a night dive. I saw LOTS of sharks, and tons of stingrays and sea turtles. I saw so many cool fish, I couldn’t even begin to name all of the different ones we saw. There were also a ton of barracudas on lots of our dives! We saw one barracuda getting its teeth cleaned! And we saw a shark trying to feed on another fish! And there was also a sea turtle munching on a jelly fish!! All of the dive sites we went to were amazing, and I loved all of them, and I’m trying to convince my dad to go back! He’s looking into Statia, so I’m very hopeful!

All in all, everything on my trip was amazing, and I don’t think I could have asked for a better way to spend my last weeks of summer. From my new friends, to diving, everything was incredible, and all of it was irreplaceable. Thank you Broadreach for supplying me with 2 ½ weeks of amazing opportunities, experiences, and memories.


- Laurel Varnell, Clemmons, NC

Signing off, Laurel V

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