Day 6


Today was my last day in the BVI and my last as a student in the Jesuit Marine Biology program. Because we had finished our research projects yesterday, the only thing left for us to do was our service project. This year, we decided to clean up boat wreckage on a beach. The boat itself crashed during a hurricane a few years ago and because the beach is scarcely used by people, debris remained scattered throughout the place. Unlike last year’s beach, the beach this year was mainly comprised of large rocks which we had to climb to reach the trash. Additionally, before we could clean, we had to snorkel out to the beach because there were no paths there on foot. Snorkeling there was a unique and somewhat comical experience because everyone had to first traverse an extremely shallow coral reef before arriving to the wreckage. Starting our snorkel, we were in about one to two feet of water and had to travel around forty yards before it was safe to stand. Looking down, we could see pointy sea urchins and hazardous fire coral inches away from us. Watching everyone including myself try to navigate this reef was entertaining because each person had to basically swim moving his body as little as possible for fear of hitting the reef. When we all somehow made it to the cleanup site unscathed, we began picking up debris and placing them in trash bags. Most of what I saw were pieces of wood, string, and foam; though, metals and plastics were also present. Even while we were cleaning on a mainly uneven surface, we were able to pick up the majority of the wreckage relatively quickly; I think faster than last year. Next, we had to transfer the trash to a garbage disposal. To do this, Casey of Dive BVI brought over a boat and a raft, the raft being where we would place the trash. Then, when all the wreckage we could take was placed on the raft, Casey towed the pile back to the marina, where we snorkeled back and helped transfer the trash to the garbage disposal. I am glad we were able to clean most of that beach up. Though people did not use that beach very often, us cleaning it guaranteed the well-being of the plants, corals, and other marine life around the area. God created us to be stewards of the earth and I feel what we did today met that depiction. After our cleanup, we ate lunch, had time to shop, and then were given free time once we returned to Guavaberry. I spent all of my free time at the beach, throwing the frisbee, swimming, and just relaxing in general. Before ending our day, we ate dinner at the Mermaid, a restaurant sitting on a dock over the ocean. A cool thing about the restaurant is that people can watch groups of large tarpon swim below the dock and search for food. As we watched the tarpon, we were served a delicious Caribbean buffet of chicken, tilapia, ribs, mac n’ cheese, etc. In my opinion, there’s no better end to a spectacular trip than a spectacular meal, a meal exactly like this last meal. Near the end of dinner, we enjoyed ice cream or pie and watched an awesome video that Casey made of our journey this week. Following that, we expressed our gratitude to the Dive BVI staff and headed home to prepare for our return trip. To me, this trip was everything I could ask for, a perfect mix between learning about science and life in general. By this, I mean we grew not only in our knowledge of marine life and how to conduct research, but also how to lead respectful lives and form strong relationships. The staff of Dive BVI did a wonderful job at helping us conduct our research and learn more about the BVI, all the while maintaining their patience and creating a welcoming atmosphere for us. To the staff of Dive BVI and to Mr. Kirby, Dr. Gruninger, and the rest of the Marine Biology program, thank you for a terrific past two years.