Day 5 & 6 – Marc Riccione

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I started my day off with breakfast at Tamarind cabin, which included Wyatt and Miles. Miles made eggs which was great because we’ve never had eggs yet on this whole trip. Tamarind cabin is different because they have a opening on one of their porches’ rails that leads to the top of a giant boulder. 
After breakfast our marine biology group split into our two boat groups. The Sea Dragon left to Salt Island to dive into the Rhone Ship Wreck. Quick Summary on the Rhone. One of the first steam boats ever made, the Rhone was made in 1865 and was deemed unsinkable. The Rhone was also a luxury liner that was made in England and went to BVI. Before the Rhone sank, it picked up people from the Rhone’s sister ship, the Conway. The Rhone had three hundred plus before finding itself in the second worst hurricane in BVI history. The Rhone ended up getting blown to bits because it’s boiler crashed into a cliff causing cold water to rush into the boiler. The whole twenty person crew survived and one Italian passenger survived. It’s also good luck to rub the Italian passenger’s room’s porthole, porthole number twenty six. 
On the two dives we split up into our project groups for the dive even though we weren’t going to do our projects on the dive. Gazz and Becca briefed us before the dive on how we were going swim through the bow of the ship and explore the artificial reef on the Rhone. They told us to keep in mind the benefits of an artificial reef like shelter and food. 

If I had to say one word to describe the first dive into the bow of the Rhone it would be incredible. I couldn’t believe how many different types of fish were on the artificial reef. There were fish I hadn’t seen yet like trumpetfish, Gray Angelfish, and Spanish Grunts. My favorite marine animal that I saw was a lobster. I was surprised that lobsters were that big and hanged around so close to shore.
After the first dive, we waited forty five minutes before our next dive. The second dive involved the stern of the Rhone and the boiler. The second dive wasn’t as good as the first dive but calling it bad would be a huge understatement. I got a lot of good shots of the Rhone’s propellor with my goPro. There were a lot more colorful fish in this dive than the first dive. I rubbed the Italian’s room’s pothole three times, but I’m not sure if it was clockwise or counter so I could be cursed.
After the dives on the Rhone, we went to have lunch on Cooper Island with the Jesuit students on the Sea Monkey. I was surprisingly excited for this lunch because I’ve never had fish and chips before. I have to say, it tasted amazing. We actually asked Gazz what he thought about the fish and chips because he is English, and he thought the breading of the fish was soggy and the chips are supposed to be actual chips, not thin French fries. Despite the meal not being actual fish and chips, he still thought it was delicious. 
After lunch, Casey briefed us on the importance of sea grass. She told us the sea grass provides food, shelter, and breeding grounds. We then snorkeled for forty five minutes. I thought it was a great snorkel because I saw a beautiful peacock flounder and a sea turtle. I was a little bit sad after the snorkel because a lot of my fellow students saw eagle Rays.

Once on the Sea Dragon, we headed back to Virgin Gorda to work on our projects. My group worked very hard for two hours before having dinner on the beach. Tonight we had Mexican food: wraps with chicken or beef, vegetables, and guacamole. I really like to have dinner on the beach because we have a view of the BVI that is just so breathtaking. Also Casey makes people who forgot their possessions on the boats or beaches do impersonations of animals or faculty members. Today was just another great day in paradise. 

Waking up on the sixth day, I got ready for breakfast at Lime cabin. After breakfast, we went to a presentation by Dr. Gore on sea turtles. One thing I really noticed was that people are endangering sea turtles by waiting on the beach to sweep up the baby turtles into a bag like potatoes. We split up into our groups again, except the two marine biology students who were on the Sea Dragon went on the Sea Monkey because the marine biology two students hunt for lion fish in the afternoon. My Sea Dragon group took a taxi from the marina to Savannah Beach to learn about invertebrates. Once on the beach, we waited for Casey because she was busy catching invertebrates straight from the ocean for us. She showed us some invertebrates like sea slugs and sea urchins to look for when we go snorkeling. In the snorkel trip, I found a two sea slugs but one was lost because it got swept away by the current and I found a sea snail. After everyone caught their share of invertebrates, Casey educated us by letting students look hold the invertebrates. I thought it was really cool when one of the sea urchins excreted a poisonous orange liquid.
We switched activities with the marine biology students on the Sea Monkey. The next activity was one I was looking forward to, turtle tagging. We had students dragged behind the boat to look for sea turtles under the boat. When I went I got unlucky and had to use the rope handle while everyone else had the rubber handles because Bobby tricked me and told me the rope handle is the best because you have the best chance to see a turtle. It felt like my fingers were about to fall off. We saw two turtles but no cigar. I was jealous of the students on the Sea Monkey because Cooper caught a turtle. 
After turtle tagging, we separated into our project groups in Virgin Gorda. My group felt very confident after hours of preparation. We went to present our projects to our teachers and all the dive instructors in Dive BVI. We tried our best and I believe we did great on our presentations. We left straight to the beach once all the presentations were done. Tonight we would have pizza like the last day. I immediately went for the bbq pork pizza. After pizza, we had cupcakes made by Beth, a dive instructor, even though we didn’t catch two sea turtles. Overall another great day in the BVI. 

 

  • Yvette Riccione

    First off, what a beautiful photo! It looks like the sky was swished with yellow paint. Intriguing story about the sinking of the Rhone. Hmmm….I found it interesting that the sole passenger who survived was an Italian. Maybe, if a diver with Italian roots (hint, hint) touched the porthole, it’s good luck regardless if it’s rubbed clockwise or counter clockwise. Also, I’m glad you’re using your GoPro to take pictures underwater. I can’t wait to see the photos — especially the shots of the Rhone’s propeller! It looks like Day 5/6 were filled with even more marine life. One more day to go! Have a fantastic last day in paradise!