Day 1 Blog


Today, our first dives of the week took place at the Dog Islands, particularly George Dog Island. We were told that their name stems from the Caribbean monk seals who’s call was mistaken for the barking of rabid dogs by Columbus’s crew, making them avoid the islands. Many years later, Pirates sailing through also heard the dogs, and thought they may be guarding something valuable. When they discovered they where seals, they ate them. The last Caribbean monk seal in the area was seen in the 1950’s, and today they are extinct. Our first dive was quick lesson to make sure we knew skills like sharing our air with a partner and purging water from our goggles. The next dive was at reef called the Coral Gardens, where I saw a squirrelfish, a moray eel, some blue tang, and huge schools of barjacks. I also saw a few Sargent Majors, one of which was protecting it’s eggs. The highlight of dive was a sunken airplane that had crashed on a nearby runway. The wreck stayed on the end of the runway until it was moved to the gardens to create a habitat in 1997. Over the course of 18 years, the plane was covered in various corals, which had attracted herbivores like parrotfish. Slowly, the plane was becoming it’s own ecosystem. After the dive, we had lunch and then traveled to a beach with huge boulders called the Baths. We were given two different theories on the source of the name. The first was that the shallow areas the boulders created were used to bathe African slaves coming to the Caribbean, after they had spent many days aboard the ships in extremely cramped spaces. The other theory was that the boulders were bathylythic, which means they had gas bubbles inside of them due to their formation, along with the rest of the island, from the collision of two tectonic plates. This is also the reason that the Virgin Gorda island is much more barren and arid than islands such as Hawaii, due to the soil being poor in minerals many plants, other than shrubs and cacti, need to survive. After exploring some caves made by the boulders, we snorkeled along the shore. We saw a lot of coral, and some interesting marine life like a white spotted stingray, a small flounder, and many sea urchins. There were also many parrotfish present who were feeding off the coral. After snorkeling, we retired to Guavo Berry, our hotel and ate dinner. After a lovely sunset dinner at the beach, I was forced to dance to Beyoncé’s “All the Single Ladies” as punishment for forgetting my water bottle in the restaurant where we ate lunch. All in all, it was a good first day.