Today we began the day by being briefed and introduced to the different staff members that would become our group leaders. Then after breakfast we hopped right on on of the two boats (mine being sea dragon) and went to the first scuba site. At the first scuba site we went to a depth of about 40 ft and visited a reef containing many fish, I saw many blue tangs, Sargent majors, 4 eyed butterflies, and fairy basslets. We went over some skills for scuba diving and then swam around. After the first dive I got back up on the boat at a psi of about 1300 and we began to ride over to the second dive site. The second dive site was home to a very diverse cluster of land with reefs, sand patches, rock formations, coral, and shores. This dive site had many of the same fish but also a more diverse species list, I saw many parrotfish, some shrimp and crabs, two squids, a very large purple fish that looked like an angel fish, and sea urchins. Also there was some feather duster coral that really interested me because of how it shelters itself when threatened. By the end of the second dive I was very tired and ready for lunch, after cleaning up out tanks and equipment we headed back and caught our taxi to the houses and ate lunch on the beach where we also swam, snorkeled, played frisbee and talked until our next activity. Then we were taken for a 15 minute snorkel to the baths, a system of granite rocks that form a cave like system that runs along the ocean and coast. We hiked thought he cave system, being briefed multiple times on the history of them and how they form. Then after some free time where we climbed on some of the granite and then snorkeled back to the shore when I saw a flounder and large group of thousands of Minos swimming near the shore. At that point we came up to the shore by racing each other and ended the day.
What I Learned
Today the first thing that I learned on the way to the first dive was about the islands that out dive sites for the day were next to. They are called the dog islands because settlers during colonial times went to the islands and were scared right off of them because they heard the barking of dogs that they believed hostilely inhabited the island. Later when pirates learned of these dogs protecting the island, they assumed that what they were protecting would be valuable so they visited these islands to claim treasure only to find that the barking was not dogs but Caribbean monk seals that they thought were dogs. The settlers had already named the islands the dog islands so the name stuck, even after the truth was learned. Another thing that I learned about was how our second dive site was made famous by Jacques Cousteau, who was researching a reef nearby and when he needed a break from the work he would dive in the Great Chimney, as it is called. He liked this dive spot so much because of the diversity of organisms and this made it famous. It is called the great chimney because of a rock formation on the island that is climbed by putting your feet and back on the sides and shimmying up like in a chimney. I learned about the geological process of how the baths are formed by shifting tectonic plates that form granite into large rocks that move on to each other. This plate shifting is just one way in which this type of geological wonder can be formed by volcanoes also. This system of caves was used in colonial times as shelter for the natives of the island because the granite provides shade in the day and preserves the heat of the sun over night so that the settlers did not get too cold. These rocks are called the baths because the slaves that were being transported from Africa had been on the boat in close quarters for months at a time and they needed a place to wash off so they came to the island to clean off.
What I Am Looking Forward To
I really enjoyed the dives today and really hope to dive deeper and in many more interesting places, the snorkel was fun and I really hope to do that again as well. My instructor Becca was very nice and I look forward to working with her further. The day was really enjoyable overall and I hope that the rest of the days are similar to it.