Day 2- My roommates and I woke up at 7:00 and rode to the marina at around 8:00 to have a breakfast of toast and a ham and cheese omelette. After breakfast, I got onto the boat I was assigned, the Sea Monkey and we set out for a dive site called Paul’s Grotto. During this dive, we were given slates and a pencil for identifying or describing as many fish as we saw during the dive. We dove to around 60 feet at the deepest and I was able to identify around 20 different species of fish. We also saw a lionfish, which our divemaster Jeremy promptly disposed of with a speargun. It was a very fun dive with the exception of getting stung by something all through my neck, chest, wrists, and legs after surfacing. It felt like I was bitten by an ant in 50 different places, but once I scraped and put some anti-jellyfish sting salve on the affected areas, I felt better. After the first dive, I rode out to an island called West Seal Dog. During my briefing for this dive, I was told that a few sharks had been spotted at that dive site, so naturally everyone on the boat was excited. Even better, when the other divers and I were decompressing from the first dive, some people snorkeled around the boat and saw a shark below the boat. After an hour, I finally dove, again with the slates for identifying fish. I saw many cool fish, like a huge angelfish and numerous colorful fairy basslets. After several minutes underwater, I saw a shark about 30 feet away from us. The divemaster directed the other divers and me in the general direction that the shark went. We then saw three sharks, the longest one about four feet long swimming near a ledge. We got as close as fifteen feet from them, which was really, really exciting! They eventually swam into a grotto that we were going to explore, but the divemaster decided not to follow them so the sharks wouldn’t become defensive. After surfacing and boarding the boat again, I rode back to Virgin Gorda and had a lunch that consisted of a cheeseburger and fries. We had a short shower break at Guavaberry after lunch, and then the class and I walked to the Baths national park with one of the dive instructors as a tour guide. We first hiked through the woods leading to the Baths, and we collected mangoes from one tree at the end of that hike. We then entered the caverns that make up the Baths, which are a formation of huge boulders piled on top of each other, weathered by the ocean. It was quite slippery on the rocks, and the combination of wearing dive boots and carrying snorkeling gear made this hike quite arduous, but it was very neat nonetheless. Once we hiked through the caverns, we snorkeled back the Guavaberry’s beach, looking at the reefs along the coast. Once I got back to my cabin, I took a pleasant shower before going to dinner at a restaurant near the Baths, where I had barbecue chicken, rice, and fried plantain that tasted like peach cobbler. However, after dinner, our class was scolded because we apparently some classmates were very rude to the dive instructors, and we were told to sit and reflect on our day. Finally we were dismissed to our cabins for an early lights-out.
Day 3 – I woke up at 7:00 again, and had the same breakfast that I had yesterday, a ham and cheese omelette. I got on the boat and rod out to a shipwreck called the Rhone that sank in 1867. We were told that it was one of the most advanced ships of its time. For example, it was the first ship to use a propellor for propulsion. Like the Titanic, it was deemed unsinkable, but that was proven false in a hurricane, causing the death of several hundred people. We dove down to 80 feet under water, but due to the remarkable clarity of the water we were in, it was still quite bright at the bottom. I swam through a section of the bow on this dive, which was really cool. When swimming through my first thought was, “This is something that shown as really extreme and awesome, and I am doing it right now!” We also swam by the condenser and the boiler of the ship, which were all very cool to see, especially since several inches of coral had grown on everything. At one point, I was swimming near a section of the ship, and looked to my right and saw a three foot long barracuda not five feet from me. I quickly got out its way. After the first dive, we changed tanks and dove towards the stern of the ship, which had been blown apart by dynamite to completely submerge it. We saw more cool things on this dive, like a footlong lobster, and a few eels. This dive was shallower, only under about 30 feet of water. After these two dives, we rode to a place called Cooper Island, where we had some excellent fish and chips for lunch. After lunch we snorkeled in the lagoon around Cooper Island, looking at the small creatures that live in sea grass, like the mantis shrimp. We were searching for a seahorse for a $50 dollar reward, but no one found a seahorse. We eventually swam out into a deeper reef, and saw things like barracuda, tarpon, and stingray. I finally boarded my boat after the swim and we rode back to Virgin Gorda, and took a two hour break in the cabin, where I played Uno with other classmates. After that, we walked to the beach and had burgers for dinner. After dinner, we played ultimate frisbee on the beach for a half hour before donning our snorkeling gear and snorkeling at night. At night we saw many different organisms, like a few cuttlefish and several stingrays. In addition, the coral were feeding then, so I could see the polyps exposed, waiting for prey. Our flashlight attracted literally thousands of small worms that bit you, so shining you light a few inches from some coral and watching the polyps eat the worms like a venus flytrap was very entertaining. Finally we left the beach and were given time to write for our blog.