This is my lion tamer.
There are many like it, but this one is mine. In fact, this 6-headed spear, or “hunting gig”, is my weapon of choice this week as I perpetuate my campaign against the heinous threat to the Caribbean that is the lionfish. I made my first spear today when I was alerted to the existence of a lionfish in the bay in which my classmates and I were assessing the health of the mangrove systems in the area. The first spear, however, was poorly built and nearly ineffective, as I merely injured the lionfish, instead of the intended death. But I made it bleed. And if it bleeds, we can kill it.
Bloodlust fueled rampage aside, the day was activity filled and exciting. I awoke at the charming hour of 6 am local time, and meandered to the Guavaberry resort lounge. After helping Casey set up for breakfast, i was joined by the rest of my classmates for our breakfast in the lounge of the Guavaberry resort. Casey brought us a light breakfast of donuts, fruit, bagels, assorted condiments, yogurt, and juice.
Our trip to the resort at which we would spend our morning was just as entertaining as the actual destination. I spent the ride on top with Captain Jeff, during which he told me of the many adventures he’s had over the years. He’s asked me not to go into details, but his tales dealt with diving his way through Central America, the British military, a Norwegian dwarf, and several youth hostels. Relaying to me these stories had the side effect of convincing me that I wish to backpack alone across Central America from hostel to hostel for at least two months come high school graduation. Mother, Father, if you wish for someone to blame, you can blame Jeff.
Our activity for the morning involved kayaking and snorkeling around the resort to assess the health of the nearby mangrove systems. The snorkeling was uneventful, safe for a run in with some fire coral and several sea stars the size of my head. After some snorkeling, I maintained a kayak, and observed a part of the mangrove system. Then came the real fun. What’s this? A lionfish? I’LL KILL IT. Here began my arts and crafts session in which I created my death machine. The resort bartender lent me a knife, and I essentially created the tool outlined here.
After snorkeling and such, the Sea Dragon docked at the dock adjacent to Dive BVI’s second dive shop for lunch and a presentation by Dr. Shannon Gore. Dr. Gore gave an excellent presentation on the history of coral in the Caribbean, with a focus on climate change and the efforts we are taking to preserve the reefs. Additionally, she outlined to us the project we will be working on later in the week. To help the environmental agencies of the BVI, our group will be recording the proliferation of Acropora Palmata and Acropora Coriolanus, or Elk and Stag horn corals, in certain I’ve areas. I’m very excited for our conservation work later this week.
After the presentation, I was super excited to use the weapon I’d Bear Grylled up. Alas; I was never given the opportunity. On the bright side, our next activity, a dive at the “Visible” dive site, off of Cockroach island, was one of the most beautiful dive sites I’ve ever seen. Among the bountiful sea fans and gorgonians were many exotic fish, including an 18 inch puffer fish cavorting near a similarly sized spiny lobster. However, not a single lionfish was to be found, a bittersweet occurrence. Bitter, because of the lack of bloodstains on my weapon. Sweet, for the lack of lionfish means more fish in the reef. Save for the disappointing hunt, the dive was spectacular and I look forward to diving there again someday.
At shore, we unloaded the boat and loaded onto the taxi, proceeding to Guavaberry to shower and prepare for dinner. Dinner at Mad Dogs was ham and tuna wraps, potato salad, and a lo mein sort of pasta dish. Very filling, very delicious. After Gavin Patterson managed to lose my frisbee, we all reconvened for a presentation on the reef which our group had planted last year, and on the reef we plan to plant this year.
Next time on Alex Curry’s Marine Biology experience: Will Alex’s thirst for lionfish blood be sated? How has the reef turned out? Will he ever see that frisbee again? This and more, next time!