While Echo is a Leadership and Sailing Expedition course, there is always time for diving. Three students arrived early in order to get a head start on their PADI Open Water SCUBA certifications. Frazer was the first to arrive in the afternoon on the 16th. Hayden and John arrived soon after on the following day. Today all three had their first full day of diving. Completing the first three Confined water training dives and the first two Open Water dives, spending a total of almost nine hours in training!
On the two open water dives, they explored the stern section of the RMS Rhone, a world renowned wreck that sunk on October 29th, 1867 off the cost of Salt Island, and Chromis Reef. The Rhone’s Stern dive is beautiful with the gear box, drive shaft and the black and white tile dance floor still in tact. The 18 foot propeller and giant rudder are still found toward the end of the dive and offer a scale for the size of the ship. Populated with various species of tube sponges, gorgonians and other hard and soft corals, this dive is one of the most renowned in the BVI.
When the diving was done, John, Hayden and Frazer arrived back on docks and awaited the arrival of the rest of their crew mates, who where brought by the 5:05 Ferry into Road Town. Mac and Patrick were accompanied by Caroline and Brielle, meeting on the ferry and working their way through immigration together. Being delayed by the ferry and having customs slow them down, it was nearly 6:30 by the time the newly arrived students were making their way by truck to Hodges Creek Marina. Claire, Echo’s Program Director, maintained a steady stream of conversation among the students as the truck wound along the coast.
Once everyone was back to the boat for the evening, hot pizza was delivered from a restaurant next door. After a relaxing dinner and clean-up, students were given a a general orientation to the boat, program and itinerary. Soon after, slumber was joyfully found in hammocks, sleeping bags and bunks alike.