Third Day


Today once again started at 6:20, and, after hitting the sleep button once, our group woke up to prepare breakfast for the other students and teachers. Little preparation was required; however, as the meal consisted of yogurt, muffins, and cereal. Thirty minutes after break we took our open-air bus to the harbor for the experiment dives. Our original destination proved rather tumultuous as the waves rocked the boat to a steep tilt. The Sea Dragon crew then spent the next ten minutes in search of the ideal dive location, which exhibited slightly choppy water under today’s clouded skies. Due to the swelling of my arm I was unable to dive because of the possible risk of being unable to fully expel the gasses from my body on top of the safety concerns presented by an injured arm in an already treacherous environment. I resigned myself to snorkeling along the surface, aided by two pool noodles, following my group as they conducted the first portion of our experiment, which is attempting to develop a correlation between coral bleaching and the presence of herbivores. Because the water was crystal clear and I could observe from a short distance, Zoltan, our group leader, designated me to be the “team manager” of sorts and critique the performance of my peers. While seeming severely uncoordinated, the organization of an underwater science experiment is far from an easy task when taking into account the discombobulating factors of wave motion, a lack of landmarks, and the extreme limit of communication. After several attempts, our group established the site of the experiment and successfully conducted the procedure with few errors. Thirty five minutes into the dive, the group signaled to surface and prepare for the next location. The next dive, with me snorkeling above once more, went much more smoothly. The establishment of the site perimeter and counting of fish was relatively unhindered and we collected an adequate sample of data that seemed to support our hypothesis at that stage. After a successful dive we returned to the waters of Virgin Gorda for lunch, tying our vessel to the side of Sea Monkey to eat lunch with the other crew. After digesting our sandwiches and chips, both boats traveled to the side of the island opposite to our port to snorkel in the mangroves. The mangroves are home to ecosystems that harbor young marine animals so that they may develop in safe shallows. Larger fish remain on the outskirts, exhibited by the rather large barracuda that fled from our group. We concluded the day under tiki torches with a lovely meal prepared, once again, by Casey. I’m looking forward to further recovery so that I may participate fully as soon as possible.