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Friday, July 8, 2011

Enjoying the Caribbean

Before I came to Punta Gruesa, I was a little apprehensive about what to expect. I had read my training manual and looked over the blog, but of course it's impossible to know what things will really be like until you actually get there. In all honesty, I couldn't be happier with how things have turned out. The individuals on base are all fascinating people from all over the world, the staff is knowledgeable and relatable, and the other volunteers are laid back and fun. The food here is delicious as people have been quite enthusiastic and creative with the ingredients available. Today our menu is Indonesian themed, with traditional rice porridge with hot spiced mangoes and apples for breakfast and a stir fry with peanut satay sauce for lunch. The only slightly frustrating thing about living here has been the bugs, but when you wake up at sunrise to a white sand beach and palm trees with fresh coconuts the bugs really aren't so bad...

The diving has been awesome, with everyone diving at least once per day. The reef spots I've seen so far have been beautiful, with great biodiversity and interesting coral formations.

It has only been six days and already people have seen turtles, rays, and lionfish. Aside from diving, studying has been a common activity as people are beginning to take their coral and fish tests and working on their Advanced Open Water PADI certification, but we're still very relaxed here. Hammock lounging, snorkeling, and volleyball playing, and having a beer or two on the beach after dinner are everyday activities, and if it rains the volunteers are quick to take advantage of the fresh water for showers. Two days ago we had a heavy rainstorm which was well-received by everyone! We all ran outside with our shower supplies in hand washing the accumulated salt out of our hair. After our showers we played an intense game of volleyball, still in the rain, until we were called in for a lecture about coral anatomy. So far, I'm incredibly happy with my decision to spend five weeks of my summer here, and the only thing I'm worried about is how quickly the time is going to pass.

Anna S

Vienna Virginia, USA