Blog Entry: 4 July, 2016


Today easily ranks as one of the most diverting days of my young life, as I was granted the amazing opportunity to experience the natural wonders of the eastern Caribbean. On the immeasurably awesome Seadragon, captained by the Hulky Hungarian divemaster Zoltán, in all of his Magyar glory, we set sail for the minor islands that approximate Virgin Gorda. At George Dog Island we were able to cruise along a shallow section of reef while practicing some basic diving skills (which would prove extremely valuable later on in the day.) Despite being in relatively shallow water, the reef was teaming with life, and sustained many interesting fish, such as speckled hind, trumpetfish, mangrove snapper, and stoplight parrotfish. Despite being a short dive, this endeavor was enjoyable and soothing, not to mention beautiful, but it paled in comparison to the second dive, which occurred at an underwater geological formation known as “the chimney,” off of Great Dog Island. The underwater landscape was breathtakingly majestic, and featured a more diverse array of species than can be found even in an aquarium. In the underwater caverns, we came across trumpetfish, graysby groupers, speckled hinds, strawberry hinds, coney groupers, tiger groupers, French angelfish, Spanish hogfish, French grunt, queen parrotfish, longspine porcupinefish, and the critically endangered staghorn coral. The dive would have been absolutely perfect had I not nearly expended most my entire air supply before the end of the dive, which required me to put the skills I practiced on the first dive to use. Fortunately, I was in the excellent company of my divemaster, Beth, who courteously offered to share her air with me before escorting me to the surface. After a pedestrian lunch of ham sandwiches, we snorkeled from an inlet down the hillside from our resort to a series of caverns known as “The Baths,” so called because captured African slaves were brought to bathe there after the middle passage during the days of the transatlantic slave trade. After being emancipated, those slaves who lived on Virgin Gorda were given the land that they slaved on for so many years, and their descendants inhabit the island to this day. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, The Baths were also a popular resting spot for the Carib people who were indigenous to the windward isles, and from whom the Caribbean gets its name. Because of this, today’s experience was cultural as well as natural.