Too Much Blog, Not Enough Space!


So I guess this would be two days worth of blogging mushed into one, but remembering things is difficult. So we woke up yesterday morning, got all our stuff together and headed to the taxi which took us to breakfast at the marina. After a nice breakfast filled with basking in the sun and talking, we put our gear on board the boats and headed towards Jesuit Reef. Once we got there, we were briefed on what coral to look for and how to break off healthy bits. We snorkeled around the reef, looking for various corals which were either bleached or dying that still had large enough healthy pieces to recover. After floating around and diving down with our snorkels to get better looks at some coral, we went back to the boats to prepare our scuba gear for the dive. During the first dive we swam around and picked up several healthy coral pieces, which we would replant during our next dive. Between the two dives, we ate lunch on the boat while joking around and making sure we didn’t get any trash in the ocean. Then we geared up, jumped into the water, and headed towards the artificial reefs the group from last week had started. Trying to communicate underwater became difficult while also trying to maintain buoyancy and make proper measurements. However, we eventually were able to properly zip-tied the coral pieces to the blocks and headed back towards the boats. Because some people managed to finish quicker than others, and just sitting and waiting for the others to come back from planting coral was boring, we took off all of our diving and snorkeling gear and began diving and jumping into the water off the back of the boats. Once we were done and everyone was back on the boats, we headed back to the shore and unloaded equipment. Afterwards we took the bus back to our homes and got all cleaned up for mass. It was a very nice and quick ceremony. Afterwards we went back to our homes, changed clothes, and walked a few minutes to the beach where we played frisbee and had an awesome dinner until dark. Once it was dark enough we got our flashlights and went on a night snorkel. Staying spaced apart became a problem as we bunched together in the darkness, as well as some rogue fish which jumped out of the water and smacked some people in their heads as we swam. But one of the coolest moments was when we hid our flashlight beams so it became totally dark, except for some small bioluminescent lights in the water. These small lights were everywhere, and while they were not enough to allow us to see into the darkness below and around us, they were an incredible sight to see. After the night snorkel, we packed up our stuff and went home. The next morning (this morning), we woke up and had another breakfast on the marina, just like the one from yesterday. After our breakfast, we had the same ritual of packing our equipment on the boat and getting ready to set off. The plan for today was to head out to Salt Island and dive through the RMS Rhone, which was a cargo/cruise ship when it sank. On the first dive, we swam against a current and saw some fish and two spotted moray-eels. When we reached the bow of the ship, we swam towards around a bit and then headed inside the ships bow. On the way in I managed to slam my head into the top of the opening, which stung a bit but I was okay within the minute(Rhone:1 David:0). Almost as soon as we entered, we saw a lion fish swim under some wreckage and were able to look around the inside of boat, now becoming one with the ocean it once ruled. Swimming around the opposite side of where we entered the reck, we saw some more choral growing along the side and numbers – at least two numbers – of fish. After the dive we sat on the boat for a snack and to relax a bit and learn some more about how the reck came to be and some ghost/superstitious stories that surrounded the wreck. We also had a small game we played where the winner was allowed the honor of spearing a lion fish that was seen under the boats half hidden in choral; we didn’t learn what the prize was until after someone won. Michael White won this prize, and once we descended again into the water, we swam back towards the fish, whose time had come – even though the fish itself had not yet learned this fact. Once we reached the fish, Michael was given the speargun and he giddily took aim at the fish from point blank range, accidentally poking the fish once or twice and making it swim a foot or so forward before finally pulling the firm trigger. There was a dull click and the sound of two solid objects hitting one another as the fish and spear disappeared into a dark hole next to where the fish had been hiding. Thinking that maybe his aim was spoiled by the fishes sudden movement before pulling the trigger, we watched as the spear was pulled out from the dark crevice. But to our delight, the fish had been speared successfully, everyone cheering and Michael making a loud bellow as his kill was presented to him (this was underwater, so it just sounded like guttural bellowing and expanding bubbles from every direction). After the excitement, we separated into our groups and headed towards the stern of the Rhone, my group seeing a ginormous Lobster(I like to think of him as Lobstersauris-Rex). Swimming through was really cool, even managing to see a rather large school of fish hiding in some of the boats shadow. Coming up from the water, we had some fish and chips at a nearby island restaurant. It was delicious. Jumping back on the boats, we headed out to a nearby area where we snorkeled around for a while before jumping back into the boats and prepping to head back and set our equipment aside before dinner. Dinner was good, consisting of nachos and quesadillas. After filling out our dive logs, we hung out for a while longer before heading down to do our second to last blog. And here we are…

*Image is the beach where we did the night snorkel at sunset.