Today the day began with waking up at 6:15 and going to the mango cabin for breakfast and had cerial and fruit. After that we received a briefing where a woman named Dr. Gore taught us about the turtle population world wide. Then we went over to the cattle guards and got picked up at the taxi. Then the taxi dropped off the sea monkey group to tag turtles and the sea dragon boat group went to a beach, on the way to the beach we went on a path that had the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. The beach was on the Caribbean Sea side. Then we snorkeled to look at the invertebrates and environment of the shallow reefs. We snorkeled for about an hour and I saw many sea urchins, types of fish, and many species of coral. Then after the snorkeling we saw a presentation from Casey on the different invertebrates that she found and caught in the reef. We were shown some different types of algae, starfish, and slugs and taught about their environment characteristics, and habitat. We were lead to the taxi and ate lunch at the restaurant that we had breakfast in on the first day. Next it was our turn to try to tag a turtle. We went out to a bay with sea turtles in it and swam around trying to catch one. We went around for hours and I saw multiple and some sting rays. At the last moment before we left one of the instructors named Daniel caught a turtle. He grabbed it by the back and front of the shell and handed it onto the boat and then we saw that it had been tagged twice, once in 2004 and once earlier this year. We renewed the tag and everyone got a picture with it. Then we came back to the docks and caught our taxi to the houses. Later we all went down to the beach for some cabin games. The first game was a water ballon dodgeball and my cabin won first place. The second game was a blind folded obstacle course where I was blindfolded and Jack, Daniel, and Marcello guided me through pegs in the ground and around a buoy to then touch a flag back on the beach, we came in second. The third challenge was a pictionary match in the sand where we came third and finally a race to put on scuba gear where we came first. The championship was a race between us and the second place team which we won so my cabin won the whole cabin games.
What I Learned
Today I learned a lot about turtles. I first learned that how despite people thinking that all sea turtles are about to be gone, there is still a lot of turtles in certain areas. The variations of sea turtles in different local areas are thriving, like in the BVI there is now a huge amount of more turtles than there were in the past. Although there are some areas where turtles are doing well, there are some that have turtles that are endangered or critically endangered. There are seven different variations of sea turtles and the ones that make their home in the Caribbean are green sea turtles, leatherback sea turtles, and hawksbill sea turtles. There is an occasional loggerhead that passes throughout they don’t make a home here. Most of the sea turtles that are in the bay that we went to are juvenile sea turtles that are in between their hatching ground and their nesting ground that they will move to. I learned how to properly hold and tag a sea turtle as well. The proper way is to put one hand under the shell behind the head and one hand under the shell above the tail. Then you lift the turtle out of the water and avoid the flapping fins and the biting. Then puncture the front fin of the turtle and clip on the tag or inject it into the turtles neck. The bottom of a juvenile turtle has a softer shell than that of an adult turtle. I also learned about an interesting fire worm that is native to the BVI region among other regions. They eject spines when threatened that can stick into skin and cause irritation and pain that is terrible. Also the algae that forms a little bubble contains fresh water through salt filtration.
What I am looking forward to
I am excited to finish our project dives tomorrow so that I can move on with the presentation and have more fun on the dives exploring the environment around me. I look forward to visiting the coral nursery and seeing how humans can rebuild our environment.