Day 1


Walking into the airport on Tuesday morning, I was filled with excitement. After over a year of anxiously awaiting the trip, the time had finally come to enjoy my passion. It seemed like I was the most excited person there after annoying everyone by saying how excited I was over and over again. I have no problem with flying and I love traveling more than anything so the trip to Virgin Gorda was not an issue for me. I was very tired when I arrived but every time I realized that I was finally here, I had enough energy to keep me up the whole night and go easily through the next day. When we got settled in our casa’s, my roommates and I sat outside and talked for a while about how anxious we were to finally get in the water. Knowing that I needed some sleep, I finally went to bed somehow around 12:30. When I woke up from my roommate, Jack Kelley, nudging me on the shoulder, I instantly got out of bed. He commented on how quick my readiness was and how he had probably never seen someone get up that fast. If you know me… I don’t get out of bed fast. I was so excited that by the time Doc came to check on us to see if we were awake, I was completely ready for the day. We went to Olde Yard Village for breakfast around 7 and ate a nice meal. After Mr. Kirby introduced our eager scuba instructors, we finished our meal and got ready for our classroom lesson. Laura, one of the scuba instructors, happily taught our morning class about the fish we will most likely see while here and what will help us ID them through their unique size, shape, color, or design. After we had a refreshing lunch break, Casey eagerly taught us all about coral. She mainly covered staghorn and elkhorn and their immense affect on the marine life in the BVI, as well as other Caribbean reefs. When we finished our morning class, some students and I jumped into the pool the condo had. From their our taxi shuttled us to the marina where we broke into our dive groups. My group, the sea dragons, also known as, “Team Caitlin, better than you”, was led by instructors Jeff and Caitlin. We road out to the famous Jacque Cousteau’s chimney dive on Great Dog Island. Once Jeff set the latter into the water, I asked if we were allowed to jump into the water. When he said yes, I was the first one to jump in only seconds later. The feeling of finally being in the ocean after what seem like forever is easily one of the best feelings ever. It was perfect temperature as well. Everyone complained about how salt water rushed into their mouth or through their noes but it made me so happy. After I jumped in, I got out and received a lesson from Caitlin, who reviewed how to properly assemble a BCD. One thing about Caitlin is that she knows how to keep everyone interested in what she says. It’s not always funny, but somehow it seems that I never find myself drifting off when she is talking. She is great about keeping patient and working with everyone positively. She also reviewed how to cautiously use the oxygen tank in “emergencies”. Hopefully we will never have to use it, but if we do, it will definitely be for me. I always have to touch something or do something dangerous. When we finally got situated, we entered the water with our tanks on. I was the first one to get in and got situated with my goPro and dive weights. Pablo, Jeff and Caitlin’s assistant, gave everyone a proper weight check and when Caitlin jumped in, we ascended to 35 feet. My group ran through a couple of skills to refresh ourselves and everyone did awesome. We had no problems and everyone comfortably went through the skills while Caitlin patiently got adjusted to our group. When we got through the skills, we finally got to stroll through the water and get to see all sorts of life. I haven’t been so excited about something in a very long time. It hasn’t fully hit me yet that I am in one of the most beautiful dive locations in the world, experiencing in person some of the most beautiful underwater wildlife. When we got to the famous chimney, the first thing that stood out to me were the vibrant colors that lit the walls of the cavern. So much life and creativity filled the reef. I only spent about 3 minutes in there but if I could spend a whole day in there, I doubt I could see half the wildlife, even though its no longer than 75 yards long. The pictures and video I took from the chimney can not even get close to the beauty you can receive in person. The goPro does not pick up the colors in the water after a certain depth do to the water not allowing the color waves to get through. I wish I could show people what it looked like, but getting to see it in person is something I will never forget. After the dive we went back to the marina and Caitlin dissected a lion fish that Casey shot while on the dive. Lion fish are an invasive species and are one of the biggest problems contributing to the negative impacts of the reefs, if not the biggest. Whenever we see them, they are shot with a spear gun and taken out of the reef. They have no positive impact in any way for the BVI and can only cause harm so we need to get ride of them ASAP. After that we went back to the casa’s and showered. From there we went to Mad Dog’s for dinner and ate pizza. We sat on the deck and watched the sun set. We were the only people there and I had a great time. My friends and I played games and enjoyed pizza and ice cream. We filled in our dive logs and said goodbye to the dive instructors for the night. We walked back to our casa’s and from their went to the Internet lounge where we are now. From here I will go to bed finally and anxiously await my day to come ahead