Day 3


Bright and early yet again our cabin rolled out of the bed and into the showers. Once awake we pulled everything together and made the quick walk to the teachers cabin where they served breakfast. It was a simple buffet style continental breakfast to fill us up before the long tiring day ahead. After being picked up by Glen our driver we went straight to the boat. Not 10 min passed after we boarded and we were off. Today we started our research portion of the trip and we headed to the Cooper Island which is one of the sparsely populated islands. This island has one inhabitant other than the staff that runs the islands pig farm. The reef that we did both of our dives on was called Blue Chromis reef which has a high density of elk horn coral and damsel fish, the two animals that we are studying. I entered the water and as I waited I noticed that the clarity of the water had increased greatly and I could tell it was going to be a good day. For the first 80% of our dive we swam around trying to hunt down elk horn in 20-40 feet of water with no luck so we picked a 10×10 foot square in 30 feet of water to observe how many damsel fish it had for 5 min. We also took a sample of the water to run a ph test and O2 concentration measurement. Making our way back to the boat we stumbled upon the first lobster of the trip hiding under a low over hand of coral. Almost immediately after our divemaster Ben pointed out a 5 foot nurse shark resting on the sandy bottom wedged between coral. We then rapped up the dive and headed back to the boat for our surface interval. We then decided to snorkel before our first dive to mark of a couple of spots in the shallow water to observe since the Elkhorn was found in only 1-5 feet of water. We went through the same process and observed all of the damsel fish swimming by. After observing the shallows we had time to put our scuba gear back on and head down for a fun dive which is basically a dive in which we were not researching or seeking to complete an objective other than to look around. We saw a trumpet fish and barracuda being followed by smaller fish on this dive along with a couple of grooper. Wrapping up the second dive we met up with the other boat, sea dragon, and had lunch on the water. The last adventure of the day we ventured to salt island in which was inhabited by salt mining descendants until 2007 when the last descendant died. This island is home to the two goats we saw and a shallow salt pond around 2-4 acres big that had a bottom made of 1/2 in thick rock salt. We hiked up to the top of the ridge on the island which would have been one of the best photos of the trip if some one had brought a camera. After that we voyaged back to Virgin Gorda to work on our group presentations.