Blog Entry: 7 July, 2016


Today, we wrapped up the unfinished portions of our research dives and helped the local ecosystem by sanitizing a government-operated staghorn coral nursery on the north side of Virgin Gorda. To start off the day, we took our talents to a reef known as ginger’s backside. This reef featured the most diverse array of predatory fish so far, as we even managed to see a barracuda, a large porcupinefish, a lionfish, and a massive jack within ten feet of one another. Unfortunately, upon completion, of the first dive, we still lacked the data we needed, so we migrated to a spot known as the vanishing rock. Immediately upon entering the water, we were greeted by a large sharksucker, who swam around us for our entire data collection endeavor, and eventually led us to the grand prize: a three foot long nurse shark hiding beneath a star coral head. Also spotted on this dive were four giant spiny lobsters, two Caribbean reef squid, two black triggerfish, and two large orange-spotted filefish. On the way to lunch in a small bay on Virgin Gorda, I fell asleep on the top deck of the boat and suffered severe sun burns. Aside from this, and the hydroid burns I suffered during the coral nursery dive, the day was quite pleasant. I also saw a stingray, a peacock flounder, and several large trunkfish while snorkeling after lunch. The coral nursery dive, in spite of all the satisfaction the good deed provided, was by far the week’s lowest point. The constant and extremely painful hydroid stings, coupled with the sharp edges of the staghorn and the clams attached to them ripping my fingers to shreds made it an incredibly unpleasant experience, regardless of the positive repercussions involved. To add further salt into the wound, I apparently did not spot a large tarpon that swam close to the nursery, which makes my hydroid burns hurt even more.