Fifth Night, Sixth Day, and Departure


Friday night brought the end of our recreation day with a cookout on the beach. Jeff, Casey’s husband, grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for us and the Dive BVI staff. As dinner then died down, the staff announced our involvement in a night snorkel before handing out high-powered flashlights. Awkwardly putting on my gear on the beach, I waddled into the water to put on my second fin as we began cruising the perimeter of the lightless bay. On our adventure we witnessed several tarpon, a prehistorically evolved fish that are nocturnally predacious, as well as several lobster, and a juvenile squid. Halfway into our snorkel, our guides told us to put our lights to our chest, revealing bioluminescent algae in the darkness. Saturday was the last day on the island for the Jesuit boys and our first day out of the water. We began the day later than usual, breakfast was delayed by fifteen minutes in anticipation for our community service project. Tasked with cleaning the beach on the Atlantic side of Soldier Bay, our group scavenged the rocky shore for trash. When one fantasizes about a beach, white sand and blue waters come to mind; however, that was the scenery on the opposite side of the island. The Atlantic side was host to a crudely formed beach that consisted of a blanket made from thousands of rocks, crashing surf, and garbage littered into every possible nook. The trash in question ranged from bottle caps to washed up cylinders of pressurized gas, yet few pieces escaped the grasp of a Jesuit student. Returning to the harbor, we had lunch at the Bath and Turtle after a brief period of free time to purchase souvenirs, during which I bought a small keychain. After lunch, we returned to our cabins to prepare the final arrangements for our “exam,” a presentation of the experiment we performed to our chaperones and the Dive BVI staff. While nerve-wracking, the actual presentation went rather smoothly aside from one of my group members accidentally identifying coral as a plant before correcting himself. Following the presentation and paying our commissary bills, our group went to the highest pint near the harbor, where a church lay in wait. The mass was rather quiet because there were very few people in the building outside of our group and there was no music during the celebration. Despite the uneasiness of this quiet, the silence aided in reflection and respect for where we were and the opportunities we have been given. Our day ended with dinner above the Baths accompanied by the staff from Dive BVI. After a lovely, buffet-style meal, the Casey presented a slideshow of our trip and was almost brought to tears from the thanks that was given afterwards for everything that she had personally done to ensure our comfort and happiness. The series of events above brings this entry to today. I am currently writing this in the San Juan Airport in Puerto Rico, our group has safely entered the United States with no difficulties. We have been awake since 5AM, so naps are expected to be taken sooner or later. The Marine Biology program leaders as well as our chaperones and the staff of Dive BVI have succeeded in teaching me several lessons in communication, teamwork, problem solving, and the importance of seemingly insignificant details, but they have also provided me with an experience that I will never forget for my entire life.

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