I started the Ocean Program as a marine science lover, a sailing newbie, and dying to get into the turquoise water of the Caribbean. As soon as I set foot onto the dock at Hodges Creek, I knew I had made the right choice of embarking on this adventure. During this incredible program, I learned how to sail, improved my leadership capabilities, and explored beautiful coral reef ecosystems.

Each day was full of different activities that kept us learning and on our toes, including lectures on fish identification and coral ecology. We got the opportunity to meet two different marine scientists who lead research projects and outreach in the BVI. We got to hang out with them on the boat and on the beach while they shared their insightful perspectives on careers in science and their current areas of interest. Towards the end of the program, we used all that we had learned over the course of the two weeks to assess coral health on a scientific SCUBA dive.

Even with all of the amazing educational activities, we still had plenty of time for fun. Every day I was in the water snorkeling, diving, or just floating around. I saw countless sea turtles, sea urchins, and the most colorful fish I have ever seen. At each island we visited, there was time to explore, whether it was on a hike or just enjoying a cold smoothie in the sand.

I made the most amazing friends at Sail Caribbean, with both my peers and the staff. Whether we were blowing bubbles underwater on a dive, or dissecting a squid, each day was the best day and the Ocean Program easily made my summer the best one yet.