Today was the third day of the trip. Today we started our day with getting up as we usually do at 6:30 and we ate breakfast at 7:15. At 8am we went to the wi-fi room and we were given a presentation on sea turtles. The reason being is that today was the day that we were to catch sea turtles and tag them. We were taught a little bit about the engendered species of sea turtles and how we would be catching them. I learned that not all types of sea turtles are endangered. There are many types of turtles that have a large and healthy population. Afterwards we took the bus to the marina. We dropped off one group to tag turtles, which my group would be doing in the afternoon. We then continued on the bus to Savana bay which had a shallow water reef. When we arrived we snorkeled and explored the reef for about an hour. After exiting the water, Casey, one of the owners of Dive BVI, shows us some interesting invertebrates that she had found and put in a tub full of salt water. We got to learn about the sea urchins, sea stars and some sea slugs. I learned that sea urchins actually won’t hurt you if you touch them. In fact, I even got to hold one. There is only one type of sea urchin that has long pointy spines that will puncture your skin. I also go to learn that there are some types of sea stars that can survive at depths up to 750ft!
We then left the bay and drove back to the dock where we had lunch with the other group. We found that the other groups had captured one sea turtle at the bay that they went to. After lunch, we boarded the boat and headed to a cove to catch sea turtles. As we jumped off and snorkeled around for a while in hopes that we could corner a turtle. The goal was try and get a sea turtle going to shore and then grab it as it turned around. After a few hours of trying and three or four close calls, everyone was distraught. We had pretty much given up on catching a turtle. We took one last try. A few of my fellow students located a turtle and we tracked it for a while. As it came closer to the boat, we were able to surround it. It stopped swimming and sat in the sand for a minute. Then Dan, a dive master, swam to the bottom and grabbed the turtle from behind. Everyone was very exited as we put the turtle on the boat. We measured the turtle and we found that it had been tagged once in 2004, and again earlier this year. We measured the turtle and then released it back into the water with the help of Dr. Gore, a sea turtle expert. That concluded most of our “class work” for the day. We went back to the dock, took the bus to the beach near Guava Berry and then played some games and ate dinner.
Tomorrow we are working on our experiments again. Im excited to get back to scuba diving and also to see if our hypothesis for the experiment was correct. So far the data has supported the what we though was going to happen, but we have to see in the next couple of dives.