Fourth Day


Our fourth day on Virgin Gorda proved itself as a catalyst of beautiful sights above and underneath the waves. The morning began with the refreshing view of sunlight landing upon the island chains and the endless expanse of blue sea drifting into the horizon, revealing improved conditions from the previous day. Plum cabin set out breakfast early, outlining the name of their building in cereal boxes. After a lovely meal of strawberry Yoplait and Frosted Miniwheats, our expedition to the sea began. For the first time since Monday, I was able to successfully dive with minimal hindrances and took full advantage of this in our group experiment by orchestrating the perimeter construction and taking pictures of the site. My best efforts yielded a perimeter that was trapezoidal instead of rectangular, but it’s best not to focus on small failures. Following our experiment we swam near the boat, observing several triggerfish and barracuda. I then chose to abstain from the second planned dive on Vanishing Rock in an effort to conserve my energy and decompression ability for my recovery day, but our group was unable to successfully to perform the experiment due to inefficient amounts of staghorn coral. Through the lack of success and my diving, I thoroughly enjoyed the ecosystem I saw while snorkeling above my team. A swarm of sergeant majors swirled around the base of the rock, creating a cloud of black and yellow stripes ten feet below the surface. In the midst of the smaller fish, one dog snapper isolated itself as a Goliath among the others, lumbering through the surf at nearly two feet in length. From my higher vantage point I saw a shark sucker circling over another group on the distance, its body resembling that of a shark to hide its commensal behavior. Due to our team’s lack of production, we dove at another location without the rest of the boat in search of dead staghorn coral and found a patch that had bleached due to being smothered in algae. On our voyage away from the last experiment dive, I learned the simple origin of the name of the Virgin Islands; the sailors to discover them imagined their silhouettes as having womanly curves. Lunch came next as we once again tethered the boats together near the harbor we departed from. After the repeated meal of sa wishes and chips, we docked and refilled our tanks in preparation for our main event of the afternoon, cleaning the coral nursery. Diving for over seventy minutes, we worked in groups of two to clean the ladder-like structures created from PVC pipe and fishing line of algae, barnacles, and other threats to coral health. Returning to land, we had nearly two hours to ourselves for free time before a spaghetti dinner on the beach with a beautiful sunset view.