Today was the best dive yet. I got up, and had to upload my blog that I wrote last night, so tucker and I got up a bit early and walked down to the lounge in order to upload. From there we walked back to grab our gear for the rest of the day, and walked back down the hill to the cattle guard where we waited for the taxi. The taxi drove us to the dock to have breakfast and climb aboard our boat for the day, which surprised me and others because we thought we were returning to Olde Yard for another lesson. For breakfast I had yogurt, a muffin, banana bread, and Caprisun. After breakfast, I got on the Sea Dragon, and took a thirty minute boat ride to Salt Island where we were doing our first dive on the bow of The Rhone. Before descending we were briefed by Casey where we would be headed, and the estimates of the depths we should reach. We descended to the bottom, and began our short swim to the wreck. As it came into sight we could see the coral, and other plants that had grown on the outside of the wrecked ship. Then we went inside the wreck. As I followed Joe, who had the flash light, I did not see a beam in front of me, and I smashed my head against it. After I recovered I continued through the boat looking at many schools of fish. We exited the wreck, and swam around the other side reaching about 75 feet. Through a rock we saw a massive eel that hissed at us. We swam back around to the front side and saw the signal cannon, and swam through columns that used to be floor beams, then headed back to the boat. This dive was shorter than others because we were at a deeper depth. We ascended back to the top and climbed back on the boat. On the boat we waited about an hour, as Casey taught us the history of The Rhone. We learned how it crashed, although it was deemed unsinkable. After an hour, we began our dive on the stern of The Rhone. This was much more spread out because the ship had exploded. We swam by the boilers, which were very big. we saw the wrenches, which have grown incredible coral on them now. We swam through the propeller, which was a surprising size at about 17 feet long. We saw the black and white marble, which was so nice back in the day that you can still see the colors of it. We rubbed the lucky porthole, #26, the only one to survive the explosion. We saw a pure silver spoon infused in coral, that is a great artifact, but it is too hard to get out of the coral, so they left it there. Throughout this dive I saw a turtle, barracuda, and other types of fish, like the horse-eye jacks. From there we swam through a little opening, and returned to the boat, and got on the boat to go to lunch on Cooper Island. After getting to Cooper Island, we hung out on the beach for a little, and cracked open a coconut. After passing around the coconut, lunch was ready, so we rushed inside for a great lunch of fish and chips. While eating I managed to knock over a glass candle holder, and broke it. Thank goodness they didn’t like it because I felt really bad. After that we took a tour of their renewable energy sources they use to run the island. They have 90 solar panels to get energy, use biodegradable cups, and use rain water for showers and sinks. They are also building a bioreactor to filter waste water to use for irrigation. They say it will be clean enough to drink, but they are not going to do that because that’s disgusting to think about. From there we took the boats and went further down the island to snorkel. At the beginning of the snorkel I did not see anything except the same fish that crawl back into their hole if you come within 4 feet of them. After some people returned to their boats, others and I were able to see much more such as a cool looking sea star, a hawksbill turtle, and multiple sting rays. After the sightings, I returned to my boat and we set off towards the dock. The ride was very choppy and bumpy, but Casey was able to navigate us through them with ease. I managed to get a tiny nap on the boat, but I’m still not sure how I was able to do this because the waves were really throwing us around. After getting back to the dock we helped carry our tanks off the boat, and bring new ones on for tomorrows coral restoration dives. We took the taxi back to the cabins to get showered and ready for Italian dinner at Mad Dogs. At Mad Dogs we enjoyed delicious lasagna, noodles, and garlic bread. After dinner the champions of corn-hole (Tucker and I) returned to their playing field. We were dethroned in a very quick, yet painful manner that shocked the world, or the people at Mad Dogs. After Mad Dogs we returned to the cabins where I continue to get bitten by the ferocious Mosquitos. Well thats how the cookie crumbled today.
1) diving the stern of The Rhone (Photocred: Dr. Gruninger)
2) sleeping on the boat (Photocred: Dr. Gruninger)