Day 1 – Michael Huber


My expectations for the British Virgin Islands were blown away by our first day. I was a little unsure of what exactly it was going to be like and felt a little out of my comfort zone. However, that didn’t last very long. The day began with breakfast provided by Dr. Gruninger and Mr. Von that consisted of sausage, eggs, cereal, and power bars. Next came our first dive. I was wearing sunglasses on the boat ride out and thought the water color was a dark stereotypical blue of the deep ocean, but as soon as I removed my sunglasses, I got to witness the true turquoise color of the water. It was incredible. This first dive was truly just a checkout dive in which we tested our buoyancy and basic diving skills. Almost immediately after getting into the water just after going down a few feet, a school of Bar Jacks engulfed me. It was at that moment I began to feel comfortable with the water around me and I realized the happiness this trip was already bringing me. After this 45 minute dive was over, we got back on the boat and headed to a new dive site. On this dive, I learned various types of fish species and what they looked like as my dive master would point out the fish and write down on the pad what it was. A few of the fish we saw were the Blue Tang, Sergeant Major, Grouper, French Angel Fish, Squirrel Fish, Goat Fish, Jellyfish, and a snail-like animal called the Flamingo Tongue. The Sergeant Major was really interesting because when we saw it, she was protecting her eggs. In addition to the fish listed above, we also were able to see Fire Coral, Elkhorn Coral, and Staghorn Coral. Not only wildlife was interesting to see on this dive, but at the dive site, a plane crash was located. We were told the story of how the crash happened and even got to swim through it. After the second dive, we were given a short break before our final encounter with the water, a snorkel from the baths all the way back to the beach. At the baths, we learned about how the Pirates used the massive boulders as shelter from the hot sun and how there was even a free climbing movie filmed there as soon as we were finished showering from the long day, it was time to meet with our group members and a staff member to discuss our projects. We gave the dive staff member a briefing on what we thought would be a good project and how we could execute it. She was hooked with the idea as it had to deal with plankton that have a protein called luciferin which allows them to be bioluminescent at night. Shortly after the meeting, a dinner full of delicious lasagna and bread followed as well as a few of the guys dancing to “single ladies” as punishment for leaving things behind. All in all, it was a great first day.
The photo was taken by the great, Dr. Gruninger.