Yesterday and today were extremely full days. We started off these busy 48 hours with a lesson on turtles from Dr. Gore. She first discussed the different types of sea turtle species found in the BVI, like the leatherback, green, and hawksbill turtles. She also showed us both how they are endangered and how research is conducted on them. Several threats to the turtles include hunting, a decrease in their habitat and food supply, and climate change. Afterwards, we attempted at catching a turtle to tag for ourselves. First, we tried towing several students from the back of the boat while others searched on the deck. After several hours with no luck, we tried the rodeo style and simply swimming around looking for the turtles. After another hour or so, Luke Gomez and the wonderful, amazing Mr. Golab were successful in catching one. Using his former boxing skills from his career as the Warsaw Warhammer, Mr. Golab, along with Luke, wrestled the turtle into submission, taking heavy blows from the turtle’s powerful slaps along the way. After examining the turtle’s tags and returning him to the ocean, we went on to hike in the baths, learning much about their history. For example, the giant rocks were formed by the mixture of both volcanic substance from the Earth’s mantle that surfaced and another rock. After that, we snorkeled around the Baths and ended the day with a beach cookout.
Today we dived to the Rhone, an old mail and carrier ship that was wrecked in 1867. Sunk by a hurricane, the Rhone was split into to parts, the bow and stern. We first visited the bow, swimming through its hull, and then the stern. Both parts were around 80 ft deep, the deepest we’ve gone so far. During this dive, there was much current, rocking the boat so vigorously that I had become partially seasick. I was glad to finish that dive and return to shore. Before returning to Virgin Gorda, we stopped at Cooper Island to eat fish ‘n’ chips and snorkel around the sea grass beds. There we saw a giant spotted eagle ray and some turtles. After that, we went to mass. The Church was on the top of hill with a view that overlooked the city. It was a short and sweet sermon that talked freedom and making choices. The priest, who was from Poland, was very nice and took a photo with us after mass. We ended the day with a presentation by Casey about tomorrow’s adventure, coral transplantation. It was long day, but I can’t wait for tomorrow!