RMS Rhone (days 5 and 6)


Day 5
I awoke to the crowing of roosters that seemed to be right outside my door. My roommates and I quickly gathered our fins and booties to scuttle out the door. We met at the marina for food by Casey. We gathered all of our things to get onto the boat. On the boat Sea Dragon, Casey briefed us on our own Jesuit Reef and how we were to collect, trim, and recollect coral. There were already bases for us to replant the coral on, so we had no trouble on that part. Once we had made it over to the Long Bay, we started the first step, to collect pieces of broken or fragmented staghorn coral. We drove down to 20 feet of water to search for the staghorn, however there was little to be seen. But then, I swam what happened to be an entire staghorn coral, that had been broken by another force, the perfect specimen. Our team gathered 5 samples into our tub and rose to the surface. For our second dive, we took the samples of staghorn coral and dove to our base, number 8. The base was a simple design of concrete blocks with wooden pegs. we took the samples of staghorn and ziptied them to the wooden pegs in two different spots. After replanting our staghorn coral, it was nice to know that our Jesuit Reef has potential to become a brand new reef over time.

Day 6
Finally getting the healthy 9 hours of sleep I had been looking for all week, I felt energetic and ready for today. All 19 explorers of our group piled into glen’s caravan and set off to the marina where Casey had another breakfast set out on the table for us. Today we were to explore the R.M.S. Rhone. It was a cargo and passenger ship that carried supplies to the BVI from England. It had already survived a hurricane and been given the title unsinkable, but just like the only other boat to be given the unsinkable title, it sank. We drove over to black point tip, just above the ruins, and began our assault down to the sea floor. Almost instantly we saw a lionfish, which we decided to spear the next time we came down, and a small spotted eel. Our group swam through the hull of the largest piece of the 310ft long iron maiden. After spying many jackfish, damselfish, angelfish, and grunts, we decided to head up. On the boat, Casey gave us a quick history lesson on how the black point tip pierced the hull and struck the boiler room, causing the ship to explode and instant death for most of the passengers aboard the Rhone. Once we re-lathered in sunscreen, it was time to change tanks and head back down to the watery depths. On Rhone dive part B we swam to other large sections of the boats. Once we made it to the passenger section of the boat, their was a gold plated window that belonged to the door of passenger 26’s compartment. The legend(Casey) says that passenger 26 was a wealthy italian man and was the only passenger (not including sailors, cooks, other paid people etc.) to survive the wreck. It also said that if you rubbed the ring of gold window, it wold bring you 1) wealth 2) a delicious meal (which I did have at cooper’s Island restaurant later that day 3) an “italian supermodel” wife. After practically rubbing the gold into my fingers, we stumbled upon the largest lobster I had ever seen, it was the size of both my legs. On our way back to the boat, a larger spotted eel decided to pop his head out. We ascended after checking him out for a little while. After a long day at salt island and black tip point we headed to cooper island where they served us some amazing fish N chips and we able to snorkel for some time. Once we have had our fill and some fun in the sun we headed back to Virgin Gorda. At the end of the day we had mad dogs dinner for the last time.