We’ve all been in a situation where we did not have a close friend nearby. Picture the awkward conversation, trying to find something in common with a complete stranger. Then imagine being trapped on a boat for a week, shoved in tiny rooms with two people to a bed and eight people to one manual toilet. And there is no escape.
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
It all started when we signed up for the school’s SCUBA diving trip on a Blackbeard’s Cruise in the Bahamas. It was my first year on the trip, and none of my friends were going. At the certification classes, I was mostly surrounded by immature freshmen boys…great. I could only hope there were more upperclassmen that were already certified.
Finally the day came for us to leave. Gathered at the airport at four a.m., everyone attending the trip was tired, crabby, and not in the mood for making conversation. Upon arrival, the group bubbled with excitement, but I was still wishing one of my close friends was nearby. Sure I talked to Lainey, Tessa, and Nikki who were my roommates, but I didn’t know them very well yet.
We saw the rooms. Horror filled Tessa and Nikki’s eyes, while normally optimistic Lainey struggled to find room for her things in the non-existent storage space. Being crammed into tight quarters has been known to bring out the worst in people. The rocky start to the trip was not improving…yet.
Once we got unpacked, we met the crew. There was Grayson, the captian, Red, the first mate, Devon, the engineer, Allison, the cook, and lastly Adam, the South African divemaster. To start off with, Adam joked around with everyone on the boat, starting each dive briefing with a not-always-school-appropriate joke and constantly making people smile and laugh. He was the life of the boat.
As the first few nights passed, the girls in my room would discuss the dives and what we had seen. No one gossiped because we were afraid of offending another girl, so nights were quiet. That is, unless Adam talked to the group after the dive. He had a contagious energy, and his talks led to hyper, giggling girls headed to their bunks at bedtime to sit there for hours talking. This energy allowed us to open up, and eventually no one cared what we talked about or looked like. We became closer in that week than most people do in a year.
The last day of the trip, I woke up with a knot in my stomach. We were packed. We were ready. And I did not want to go. This was going to be one of the hardest goodbyes I’d ever said, because I would never see the crew again. They had done so much for the entire group over the past week, from Devon patiently re-teaching us how to use the manual toilets after they got clogged for the third time to Allison showing the girls how to shower without using the freshwater supply to Grayson waking up at four in the morning to drive to boat to the next dive site. But I knew the hardest goodbye would be Adam. He was the reason the trip went so smoothly. Even previous enemies could hold a warm conversation if he was involved. His energy, his humor, his overall personality made the trip one-hundred times better than I thought possible. Adam taught me not only a love for SCUBA diving and the ocean, but also what a difference one person’s attitude can make not only to their life, but the lives of others.
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