Year 2: Day 3 in the BVI

1

The day once again started off very early in the morning at 7 am. I slept through 6 of my alarms so thanks for my teammates/classmates for waking me up. The only difference with today’s morning and yesterday’s is that breakfast was at our house and the same food of fruit, cereal, fig bars, and bagels. After breakfast, I grabbed all of my scuba gear and walked down to where Glen picked us up. He took us to the marina again and then we set up our diving equipment again. This time today I made the great decision not to put on enough sunscreen on so throughout the day I got burnt… It’s all good though haha. Anyways before Gaz drove the boat out to the Jesuit marine biology reef, Casey gave us a briefing and a lesson on how exactly each dive team would clean the coral nursery trees. She told us to wear gloves to not affects the baby coral fragments and taught us how to safely clean the pvc pipes, the clear rubber wire holding the piece of coral, the buoy, and the rope without causing any harm to any of the coral fragments. There were 10 coral trees that team sea monkey and team sea dragon had to clean and each tree had exactly 50 pieces of coral growing in the nursery. After Casey finished giving the introduction, she exited off the boat and Gaz drove us over to the Jesuit reef. Once we arrived, I got my dive gear ready, did my “BWRAF” (BCD, weights, regulator, air, final OK) buddy check with my dive partner David Cantu. I them jumped in the water, got my cleaning supplies from Andrea, a BVI dive instructor. The first dive was about 45 min and I ended with about 1000 psi. David and I cleaned one of the trees and it was absolutely spotless. Spotless. After we cleaned the tree, Gaz took my dive project group around the reefs for some fish identification. I looked specifically for parrotfish, damsel fish, and fairy basslet because those three species are the herbivores I was studying for my project. My dive group then exited the water, ate a snack, and began prepping for our second dive, the project dive. Captain Gaz drove the boat to another island specifically with large quantities of staghorn and other types of coral. We arrived and took 20 minutes to prep our lab project. We first gathered all of our materials: lionfish markers, 2 GoPros, plastic slates and pencils to tally the number of parrotfish, Fairy Basslet, and Damselfish, and a timer. Once everything was gathered, my group put on their scuba gear, entered the water, and swam to the first of three sites that we studied. To set up each site, my group sectioned out a 10 ft by 10ft. square to isolate our studies to once specific area. We used the lion fish markers to visually show where the box was located. I, being the project group leader, assigned each person in my project group to a quadrant of the square to count the three species in that specific site. We made sure that we did not count each individual fish twice. We counted and observed for 5 minutes for each site and we repeated this who,e process three times on different sites. The first site had good coverage of staghorn coral. The second site had very low coverage, and the third site had loads of coral coverage. In total between the three sites, there were 55 total at site 1 (35 damsel, 7 fairy basslet, 13 parrotfish), 36 at site 2 (14 damsel, 14 fairy Basslet, 8 parrotfish), and 25 at site 3 (17 damsel, 4 fairy basslet, 4 parrotfish). After testing, everyone loaded the boats and headed out to Savannah Bay to eat lunch. We ate turkey sandwiches, chips, and cookies. With a full stomach, everyone swam to shore to go look at a salt wetland. Casey gave us a briefing out there and showed us what kind of creatures live out there like crabs. We then walked back to shore, snorkeled back to the boat, and then took off back to the harbor to relax for 2 hours. Glen picked us up at the harbor and I went back to the cabin to relax and start on my blog and work on my BVI project. We then met down that the beach for dinner at 6:15 and we hung out and ate at 6:30-6:45 ish. During this time, I was playing with Casey and Jeff’s massive bulldog named Dixie and I also made a sweet time laps of the sun setting. It’s pretty fascinating. After the sun set, Gaz told us what sea creatures to look for at night. The night snorkel was about an hour long and I saw a squid, a big tarpon, small reef fish, a massive lobster, and a two foot octopus which was the highlight of the night. After hours, we swam back to shore, cleaned the beach up, and walked back to cabin. We then showered and wrote the blog. Today was a great day of diving and working on our projects. Tomorrow we will work on our projects again so I will be excited to see what results I come up with.

  • bkirbyjcp

    Matt – great detail and I am proud of you guys for the research project. It sounds like this year is just as great as last year…if not better! Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing.