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Three wonderful summers!
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The three weeks were incredible. I met a lot of great people and got ...
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This trip was absolutely amazing. It was the best 17 days I've ever had. ...
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This trip went so beyond what I could have hoped/wished for. Each day ...
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It has been about a year and a month since our daughter returned from ...
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Broadreach is an unforgettable trip that words can't even begin to ...
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This trip was awesome. Every place was amazing and town time was great. ...
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Amazing, incredible, fantastic - these are just a few words Sophia has ...
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Our 13-year old daughter is pretty independent and has traveled around ...
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This was by far the most rewarding experience that my children have been ...
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I liked the hands-on rescue training I had throughout the trip. The skills ...
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This trip was what I wanted it to be: fun, full of adventures in and ...
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Clearer sense of self!
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Bringing together 12 teenagers from three continents to live happily ...
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It was awesome. People got along well. We ended up as a family and ...
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Journals

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Check out
alumni journals
and college essays
from this program!

Underwater Discoveries Advanced

Kelly Moran

Even when I was on Antigone, days blended together… but this particular morning started off memorably and I will not forget it. With the promise of a seven hour sail ahead of us, none of the ...

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Even when I was on Antigone, days blended together… but this particular morning started off memorably and I will not forget it. With the promise of a seven hour sail ahead of us, none of the teenaged crew of Antigone were too reluctant to get up at 6:30 to get the boat ship-shape and ready to go sailing. When we set off, many of us went back to sleep and got the best rest since we’ve been here. Some slept on deck, but I felt like being dry for once, so I stayed in the galley with Jesse, who snored loudly the entire sail. There is nothing like a sail to rock you to sleep. On this particular sail, the wind was incredibly strong, and we were eventually sailing at 11.3 knots, Antigone’s record for our trip. Someone spotted dolphins at the front of the boat and we all rushed outside. To my delight, a party of about 12 dolphins was playing at the bow. For about twenty minutes everyone on deck was completely mesmerized watching them jump and play. They were everywhere we looked, under the trampoline, out on the horizon, and just about everywhere else. There was even a mother and child. Jeff and I named the baby Dominic. It was amazing, but then just as suddenly as they came, they disappeared into the deep waves. For five minutes Mikel, Jeff and I stood staring at the sparkling deep blue waves hoping for them to return, but it seemed that the playful party had moved on to enchant another part of the sea.

I remember this morning as clear as if it had been today. I hardly need my journal to help me recall details. Most days on the trip blend together in a rush of diving, sailing and rescue scenarios. I just remember accomplishing more than I could have ever imagined in a short period of time… making life long friendships, learning first hand the wonders of the sea, and even growing up a bit, if that’s possible. But no matter how much time passes, there will always be things about this trip that I won’t be able to forget. Things like the way the stars twinkled, thousands of them glittering in the velvet black sky. Before seeing them out on the water I hadn’t realized they actually did that, being a city child, I rarely see stars. I will also always recall the different shades of blue the ocean seemed to turn from island to island, shades that I had only previously seen in flavors of Koolade--deep blue, sparkling turquoise and even a color that I can only describe as “bug juice”. The nights that seemed to never end, talking on the trampoline until exhaustion claimed us, the slow rocking of Antigone that wish I could have taken back home with me. Now that I’m home, I still occasionally imagine that I’m back on the boat with the waves gently rocking me to sleep like a cradle rocking a baby. I miss the noise, how cars and voices were replaced with the slapping of the waves against the sides of the boat. I never could understand how people slept inside on these nights, with so much beauty surrounding you, who cares if you wake up at 3 am every morning by the sudden tropical downpours. You just run inside and finish the night off on the galley floor, at least that’s what I did.

These are the things my memory will refuse to surrender to the passing of time. These are the days that friendships were made, and though I find it impossible to keep this journal entry from becoming sporadic, in my mind it all fits. My memory is like the ocean in this case. I never know what it will bring to the surface, but I do know that it will never cease to fascinate me.

- Kelly Moran, Chatham, NJ
Caribbean Underwater Discoveries Voyage Advanced

Alex Aines

Broadreach. Even that one single world makes me tingle with overwhelming excitement, knowing that what I experienced there will forever live in me. I went on adventures that rose above all other ...

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Broadreach. Even that one single world makes me tingle with overwhelming excitement, knowing that what I experienced there will forever live in me. I went on adventures that rose above all other events that I once considered “thrilling” in my life. I learned more about myself and relating to others than I had learned in all the fourteen years I have been alive. I found a place where I finally felt independent, free and no longer held back. It was not scary at all; it was fantastic. Every morning I would wake up setting the bar high for the day, but no matter how high I set it, no matter what my expectations were, Broadreach always seemed to go above and beyond. I no longer had limits, time didn’t matter anymore, and just being able to feel like that made me the happiest girl ever. Everyday was a fresh start, a start that began with a phenomenal sunrise and ended with a just as amazing sunset, inviting the next day and its events into our lives.

I did learn a lot about the human race and myself on this trip. I learned that we could accomplish more than we think if we are pushed and invite hard work into our lives. I was pushed every single day at Broadreach, and I am so thankful for it. If I hadn’t accomplished, strived for, and achieved my goals, I would have forever regretted it. Instead though, I have not a single regret to show, just a fabulous amount of new certifications in diving and sailing, great pictures and of course an unmistakably “Caribbean tan.” I always knew that I loved diving and sailing, but Broadreach showed me more than what I wanted to do and see, they showed me what I needed to experience. New doors, new opportunities that made me knowledgeable, that made me feel like I could do some things right for once.

These opportunities stared me straight in the face, intimidated me at times, but I ran with them. I learned to trust others and myself. The people on my boat, Armana, became my family and I embraced the fact that they were different and yet so alike, compared to me. They changed me in little ways like introducing me to the word ya’ll and that beans on toast is amazing and that honey or catsup go with pretty much everything. Though it might not have been obvious to any single person, everyone changed. We learned from each other, we experienced everything together, we learned about ourselves through other people, we learned that even someone who seems so different from you can in fact become your best friend. All of those people helped me open up and I was able to show them who I really was, something that is hard for me to do around new people. I realized that they were all there to catch me if I fell. We bonded so well and even on the first day, we all were in serious pain from laughing so hard. We felt so comfortable with each other and that is what made the trip so easy to effortless to ease into. People were there to endure everything I had to (challenges, triumphs, disappointments and everything in-between) and having someone, or rather many people, there with you just makes it all better.

Our skipper, Gavin and our dive master, Liz amazed and inspired me too. They let us do what we wanted, but still made us invite responsibility into our lives, like cooking and cleaning (more than I even do at home). They were amazing and worked extra hard just for us so we could accomplish our goals. They also both have astounding lives and backgrounds and I felt privileged to be on a boat with such skilled individuals. The people were unbelievable, but I have to admit that I think the diving and sailing were just as good.

I am so lucky that I got an opportunity like this. I devoted myself to this trip and I achieved everything I wanted to. The previous summer, I had done a kind of similar program called Actionquest. I came to Broadreach thinking that Actionquest was amazing and it was going to be hard for Broadreach to measure up, but I was so wrong and Broadreach blew me away.

From August 1-17, we went to seven fabulous Leeward Islands (St. Martin, St. Barts, Ile Fourche, Statia, Saba, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Tintamare), which is something I probably never would have been able to experience if it wasn’t for this trip. In total, I completed a whopping twenty-seven dives and I reached well over the fifty dives I needed to become a Master Diver. I got four specialties and on top of that, I became a Rescue Diver, which had been a lifelong goal of mine and is very important to me. I also received my ASA sailing certification. There were three levels of divers in my group and on my boat. We were UDX53 (X for extreme of course). Seeing my friends who came to camp uncertified overcome their fears and get right up there with the advanced divers was priceless. I was so proud of them! Besides diving, we also learned how to sail and run a 46-foot catamaran yacht, which was nothing less than incredible. We had time to experience the islands too by doing community service, hiking, shopping, and of course eating some remarkable food! We went to bed every night exhausted, sometimes still wet, but with a full heart and usually next to a person you couldn’t even imagine not knowing. Some nights it rained, but even on those nights, there were usually people lying out on the bow of the boat looking at the stars that seemed almost too bright to be real. Those stars were unlike any other that I have seen before. We would listen to the water slosh only a couple of feet beneath us with a cool breeze and a satisfied smile on our faces before we fell asleep.

Even with only a couple of days left on the trip, I couldn’t imagine returning to my old life back in Bethesda, Maryland. I couldn’t imagine not being wet constantly, not doing something new and exciting every minute of the day, not blowing the bass out while listening to insanely loud music with a bunch of the best people I have ever encountered.

Nevertheless, the dreaded day came when I had to bid everyone farewell and return home. People say memories last forever and they do, but sometimes they aren’t always good enough and the real thing will always be better than the memory. It’s still hard to get use to not seeing all of those great people every day and I really do miss them. I still keep in touch though. I wish I could experience it all again or make my final few days last forever. Reality hit me as I sat on that plane, the fact that I’d left and tears welled up in my eyes. I wasn’t sad; I couldn’t be because I had the time of my life! Just the thought of having to wait a whole year to do Broadreach all over again is hard to bear though. I will forever cherish my memories of this first year at Broadreach, the best seventeen days of my life and totally glum free! But, I have no doubt that I will be back next year whether it be in the Grenadines, Baja, Fiji, the Red Sea, or some other exotic, beautiful place, ready to experience another fabulous time with Broadreach! Broadreach has shaped me and showed me more than adventure; they showed me what it’s like to have dreams come true. Do all good things really have to end? Well, in my case, only until next summer…

- Alex Aines, Bethesda, MD
Caribbean Underwater Discoveries Voyage Advanced

Shanon Richards

Cool ocean breeze, sun beaming down on the sparkling water while we cruise along at six to nine knots, how could you not be in heaven? My Broadreach experience was the most wonderful thing that ...

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Cool ocean breeze, sun beaming down on the sparkling water while we cruise along at six to nine knots, how could you not be in heaven? My Broadreach experience was the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. I made life long friendships, learned life changing lessons, learned to sail, hiked, got higher scuba certifications, and had a experience of a life time.

I still remember the very first night of my trip. When we got on the boat all we could think about was getting in the water so after our boat captain, Mike Stephens, showed us around about seven of us jumped in the water and went for a little swim. I knew right then that I was going to have a great trip because we had already started to connect. The first night we didn’t have our entire group because they had a little delay. The next day they showed up and you could tell that they were a little insecure because all the rest of us already knew each other, but if I think about what if they wouldn’t have showed up then my trip would not have been the same. As the days went on we started to learn more and more about sailing and everyday we got more and more fond of it. I think that the reason for this was the way Mike presented it to us. He had such energy about sailing and you could tell by the look in his eyes when he talked about it how much he loved it and pretty soon we all started to inherit that same look in our eyes from him. Now I’m not going to lie there were days when we were like huh? We would also get frustrated with sailing sometimes but Mike always knew how to calm us down and explain whatever it was we were frustrated or confused about. We also had knot lectures most of the nights when we were just taking a little chill time in the saloon or part of us were on a night dive. The last two nights Mike taught us the most difficult knot, a turks head. Most of us conquered the knot and tied one around our left ankle to show our accomplishment of becoming a skipper. I still wear mine with pride and show it off from time to time but the real reason I keep it on is to remind me of my wonderful experience. In due time we got a good hang of sailing we started to be competitive about it. Anytime that we would be sailing to another island or cove that the other boat, Yann, on the same trip as us was also going to then we would race them without them even knowing about it. We would try to hoist our sail faster than Yann and then try to get to our final destination faster than they did. We would also "race" them when we would put the sail down and frill the jib. This made sailing just that more fun.

Our sailing was not the only thing that we were competitive in. We would have little races against each other to see who could get in the water the fastest when we would go on a dive. We would divide ourselves evenly on the port and starboard sides of the boat and when Mike would yell "DIVE DIVE DIVE!!" we would all plunge into the water as fast as we could and see which side could get in the fastest. I was always on the port side and of course we always won. Mike would always time us when we did this and on our last dive the port side got in the water in six seconds!! Which was definitely a record. After our little game on the surface we would all descend into the most exquisite water with the most astonishing coral I have ever seen. Under the surface we were all mesmerized by the coral and aquatic life. We all gazed at it in awe on every dive and tried our hardest to find cool little things to show one another. Logan was always so excited about it that he would dance underwater for our amusement. It also never failed that one of us would start a little wrestling match. Logan usually started this as well. Back on the surface we continued our diving certifications with advanced and rescue diving certifications. I always loved the lectures, which I know sounds weird, but Jim, another dive instructor, always had the best stories about diving which always left us laughing.

Now we did do other things than just dive and sail. Either at the first of the day or at the end we would go wake boarding. I would have to say that it was usually my favorite part of the day. I had never wake boarded before and when I finally got up it was such a great rush that I wanted to do it over and over. There were days when we would wake up at the crack of dawn just to go wake boarding and it was well worth the hour less of sleep. We also went hiking a few times which was amazing because we always hiked to these colossal waterfalls. At one waterfall there was a place where you could dive. Zak and I decided to have a little competition and see who could do the best back flip off of there. It was awesome and frightening at the same time but worth every moment I was scared.

The things that we did on this trip were once in a life time chances and experiences, but to me the most important chance and experience I got was meeting all the people I did. I had a real strong connection with every single person on that boat. A connection that I will never forget and that I will always feel for them. I learned so much from them. I learned that there are other places besides the wonderful state of Texas. There are also people out there who don’t say y’all 200 thousand times a day. So people actually speak correct English! But more importantly I learned that you have to be open to people and their opinions even if you don’t like what they are saying. You have to respect the way some people do things even if it is different from the way you do things because you way may not always be the right way or the only way. I learned how to make a complete meal with only cans of cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, corn, beans, and rice and feed sixteen people with it. Also that you don’t always need a queen-size bed with a goose down comforter to get a good night’s rest. All you need is a boom and a sleeping bag. I often look at my pictures of my trip to remind me of all of these things, or sometimes I just glance at my turks head and all these memories come flowing into my head. Which is perfect when a lecture gets boring in class. I will never forget my three weeks on the Valenza. I will never forget the people on the Valenza and the lessons they thought me.

Click here to read more Alumni Journals & College Essays from this trip!

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