Day One-Henry Droese


Waking up this morning was the most difficult morning I’ve had all summer. Yesterday morning, we joked about the chickens around our cabin and their respective names, as well as other random moments from our classroom time a few weeks ago. Still feeling weathered from travel in the morning, my cabin made our way over to the meeting point for the morning, on to the group taxi, and went over to breakfast. After our delicious meal, the time for basic orientation began; however, Name and I began to assemble our gear at a much faster pace before everyone else due to our previous experience. We were lucky enough to get Sea Monkey as our boat again and had familiar faces from last year such as Casey and Beth. As we left the harbor, the sights from last year began to emerge again and my familiarity with the island heightened with light. Luckily, this time the plant life looks to have gotten a better amount of water and there’s far more green along the mountainside instead of the brown and dry vegetation that we saw last year. Progressing along the ocean, our captain Ben let some of us take turns piloting the boat, I’m really tempted to try, given my coxing (the person who steers a rowing boat) abilities I think I’d be pretty good at the job. Before we left the boat, Name and I watched all the Marine 1 guys take their first jump into the BVI water and I could tell they were all really exited to be here and ready for their projects. The descent to where we were going to do our refresher checkout took a bit longer than usual because Name needed more time to equalize his ears due to some pain after flying, but after that happened, our dive went smoothly. The checkout portion of our dive went really well and I didn’t have to take too long to tune my gear to my liking as well as find a fairly stable buoyancy. After this, we went on a small swim an saw various fish such as stoplight parrotfish and some basslets, and I’m happy with the fact that I can still identify certain species. We also saw a barracuda and a small shark lurking through and around the reef. This is one of the aspects I enjoy most while diving a second time in the BVI, some species that I hadn’t seen before on my first trip are some that I can see now. This is the same with dive sites, even though we might dive the same site as last year, I feels so different because the wildlife always shifts. As our dive ended, we began to surface to the scene of one of the other groups on the boat having a diving competition off the stern of the boat. Honestly, it scared me when Tripp came hurtling down towards me while I was ascending. After this, we went to the next site, the chimney, a world famous dive site due to its scenic rock formations. Casey also taught us about the monk seal and its existence in the BVI. They made noise similar to dogs barking at boats passing by, which lead to three islands being named as the dog islands. We also learned that the seal was last seen around 1958, but people still claim to see them around Puerto Rico. As the day wound down, we went to the baths and climbed around as well as snorkeled and observed various reefs. In the future, I’m looking forward to turtle tagging and the project dives coming up, especially after our group has ironed out the kinks of our project.