Saving the Reef, one Piece of Coral at a Time


Today. The last day of diving here in the BVI. Gotta make this interesting.
So today started like every previous day so far: wake up, back to sleep, get up, shower, change, bus, and breakfast. Today, however, was coral planting day. We mighty, manly men of Marine 2 went first to the Dive BVI headquarters to create a strategy for the coral planting mission. We laid out our advanced 3D model and labeled key strategic points that would provide the best coral growth coverage from the camera angle we snuck behind enemy lines during our last trip at this location. Once our strategy was planned we boarded our vessel, the Sea Dragon, prepared our gear, and applied sunscreen. During the ride to the drop location, we shared jokes and stories, taking our minds off the risky task that awaited us. Upon reaching the dive spot, we moored our mighty craft and divvied up what locations the dive pairs would prepare for the second wave of Marine 1 students. Once every team had their location mapped out and memorized, we donned our gear and jumped, guts churning, into the deep and mighty ocean blue.
My buddy, Garret, and I took our time in reaching our site, snorkeling to be better prepared to take in the wonders that threw themselves upon us at every corner. The snorkel over was grueling, fighting off moon jellies that threatened to slow our progress with possibilities of interesting pictures as they swam by. Several other groups had reached the site before us, each working quickly so that they could return to the steady rocking of our safe ship sooner. I signaled to Garret that we had reached our location, and that it was time to descend. We took our last gulps of the sea air, switched out our snorkels for regulators, and descended the fifteen foot plunge.
At the bottom, we worked fast, hoping to catch up to the groups who had started before us. Luckily, we were graced and given two easy to set up spots, and could move out before any enemy fish could get the drop on us. We chose to stay below the surface, performing reconnaissance with the cameras our superiors gifted to us. We regrouped at the Sea Dragon, leaving the cool waters to return to the hot air we loved. We stayed above the waters for a while, waiting for our Marine 1 brothers to return from gathering our fragile supplies of Staghorn Coral on their own vessel, the Sea Monkey. Once our support arrived, we chatted for a while and bathed in the sun. Afterwards, we prepared to descend again, this time us Marine 2 members led the Marine 1 boys into battle, giving them the chance at glory through planting the coral onto the rocks. We again returned to the boats, tired and scarred. However, we of the Marine 2 division could not leave yet.
We jumped into the cool waters, refreshed after bathing in the sun on the bow of the boats, joking with each other, and taking turns jumping off the second story of the boats and diving into the waters. We journeyed over to the planting site, and prepared the tools of our trade. Once we reached the site, we descended, prepared to take measurements of the recently planted coral, for scientific data. This was a short trip, requiring little air consumption and only a few photos. We headed back to the Sea Dragon, ready to end our day of diving. I separated from the group for some more reconnaissance, snapping pictures of various forms of marine life that surrounded our tiny outpost. Once we were all back at he boats, we headed back for land, to dispose of our equipment and head home for some needed time off. After an hour and a half, we went to dinner, consisting of various forms of pizza. Dinner eaten on Guava Berry Beach, allowing us to relax in the setting sun.