On Sunday, we put to use our recent knowledge of marine life by doing two fish identification dives. The first place we went to was Paul’s Grotto. The ocean floor was set up with several plateaus that dropped off suddenly. On this dive we saw the most marine life we had seen yet, including some fairy basslet, honeycomb cowfish, moon jelly, and four eyed butterfly fish. The dive was also our deepest yet, at around 65 feet. We were able to identify a multitude of fish. Next, we headed out to Mountain Point. There, we saw a small reef shark, a lobster, and some barracuda. The dive was also layered similarly, but it contained many more ledges that served as habitats. We had to maneuver around many boulders as we reached the end of our dive in the shallow water. We had to make sure to keep track of our surface interval time, as this was our first time doing multiple dives in one day. After lunch, our instructors led us on a tour of the baths, describing how such sharp and jagged rocks can form into smooth boulders. After we finished the land portion of the tour, we got into the water and geared up. Next we snorkeled around the baths and spotted many new marine species. These included turtles, stingrays, and sea urchins. We arrived at the Guavaberry beach as we completed the snorkel. As the day came to a close, I was completely exhausted.
We started Monday with a trip to the sunken ship, The RMS Rhone. In addition to diving through the ship, we learned the history of the ship and how it sunk. Captain Jeremy told us that the Rhone was a luxurious vacation ship. It was considered unsinkable until disaster struck. A hurricane blew it up against the rocks and as water started to pour into the boiling room, an explosion occurred, sending the passengers and the crew into the water. Because swimming was considered a peasant’s activity, many casualties occurred. We began diving through the bow, which was about 80 feet deep, the deepest we had gone yet. It was interesting to see how the wreck was actually beneficial to the ecosystem, as it became an artificial reef. We actually got to swim through the bow, and then we followed that with a tour of other various sunken parts of the ship. We then ascended and waited at the surface to prevent decompression sickness. Next, we toured the stern, which was a little shallower. Because the stern had been intentionally blown up years after the wreck, the stern was almost filleted open, unlike the bow. We then rubbed the lucky no. 26 porthole three times for good luck and stopped at the plaque that named the site a national park. Around the area, we noticed a bunch of squirrel fish, a lionfish, some eels, and many schoolmasters. After those dives, we ate lunch and snorkeled at Cooper Island. Here we saw an octopus, some rays, and some turpin. After dinner on the beach, we had a night snorkel, as we were equipped with bright LED flashlights. We spotted some hermit crabs, a squid, some more rays, and a sea cucumber. This concluded day 3.