Day 4


Necker Island is a private piece of land owned by Sir Richard Branson, the owner of the Virgin companies. Today, the marine biology 2 class received a chance to visit his island for the first time since the marine biology program began at Jesuit. Upon docking, we were greeted by an iguana who decided to cross the road before us to the inland. We were told that the iguanas had been transported to the island and now they were beginning to overpopulate. I believed this since I came upon at least ten more iguanas throughout the tour. Walking away from the dock, we were taken to the zoology preserve and immediately introduced to lemurs. The lemurs were taken from Madagascar and placed in caged habitats throughout the island. Additionally, our tour guide Vaman mentioned how lemurs are sociable creatures that have many different personalities like humans do. The truth in his statement was evident in how a few of the friendly lemurs came straight up to the cages and climbed around to look at us while other cautious ones stayed back and wanted nothing to do with us. We were allowed to enter one of the lemur exhibits and interact with two lemurs. The pair was very amicable and they enjoyed posing for pictures and letting us pet their fur. While petting them, I noticed their black and white fur felt soft but surprisingly thick, and they stared at us with their huge hazel eyes. Leaving the lemurs, we passed by a few cages of macaws that bordered the tennis courts. We were told one of the macaws was about sixty years old and still recently produced an egg, though an infertile one. Passing the birds we walked on Branson’s tennis courts, where we were told greats such as Roger Federer often come to play. Considering the players are surrounded by lemur and macaw fans as well as a beach and palm tree shade, it does not surprise me star tennis players enjoyed coming there. Traveling up a trail next to the courts, we met five large tortoises. Telling us that the tortoises were around 600 pounds, our Vaman asked a few of us to try lifting one. It took four people to lift the tortoise and even then we did not lift it very high. The tortoise itself seemed peeved by our attempt and jabbed at us with his feet while we were lifting. When trying to leave the giant tortoises, the tortoise we lifted followed us until Vaman fed it some leaves. Next, we headed to an enclosed area where miniature tortoises were hiding in the shade. A few of the species in this area were endangered, and the tour guide told us how he had decided to convert the area from a garden into a tortoise conservatory. Following the tortoise area, we traveled up to a house on top of the island with an accompanying pool and a perfect view of the cove. Listening to the guide, I learned this house was a place where people with political influence such as Nelson Mandela and Jimmy Carter had gone before to speak to each other on how to impact the world. If I had influence over the world, I would not mind choosing Necker Island as a meeting place either. To end the tour, we passed by one of Branson’s private beaches and a flamingo pond to the right of it before approaching the dock again. Leaving the island, we headed to Saba Rock, a small island with one restaurant and a few vacation houses upon it. There we ate delicious fish tacos for lunch and observed people kite surfing. From there we took a ferry back to Virgin Gorda and had a few hours of downtime. With this free time, I chose to nap and enjoy my view of the beach from my cottage. Ending the day, we ate hamburgers on the beach. Today was definitely one of the most enjoyable days this week, but I am looking forward to tomorrow when we are able to complete our projects.