Marine Bio 2 Day 5


Sadly, today was the last day of diving, but it was an incredible end to Marine Biology for me and the other seniors. It included a two tank dive on the wreck of the RMS Rhone, a snorkel and lunch at Cooper Island, and a night snorkel. The Rhone dive was my favorite last year and was great once again. This dive I got to see even more than I had last year. The R.M.S Rhone was a British mail and passenger ship built in 1865. It was the most advanced ship of its time, with a coal driven propeller powering the ship in addition to conventional sails. It was one of two ships ever called unsinkable. However, in September of 1867 at the very end of hurricane season, it was anchored off shore when it was caught off guard buy a hurricane. It weathered the first part of the storm with another ship, the Conway, until they were in the eye of the storm. When the crew realized this, the Conway pulled up its anchor and sailed to Tortolla. Unfortunately, the Conway’s anchor became stuck and it either broke or the crew cut it. The crew then attempted to get it to safety as quickly as possible by stoking the coal boiler as much as possible. This caused the boiler to overheat, melting the metal and snapping the ship in two. At this time, it was customary to lock all passengers below deck for their safety and so that the crew could move about the deck. When it went down, only the crew and one passenger managed to escape. That one passenger was an Italian man who escaped from his locked cabin. His port hole is exposed in the wreck and it is considered good luck to rub it three times clockwise. I got another chance to take part in this tradition this year. We once again heard the story of the ill fated Rhone and dove to the deeper bow section. However this year we also saw the stern section, swam through it, and saw the enormous 17′ propeller. The stern is especially impressive because it was accidentally split open by a dynamite crew attempting to cut down the mast protruding from the water about 100 years after the ship sank. This really helped me get a sense of the scale of the ship. In addition, we saw the captain’s silver spoon encrusted in coral and some of the ship’s marble tiles. After the Rhone dive, we headed to cooper Island for lunch and ice cream. This year fish and chips was not one of our options (although allegedly Doc ordered it for himself) but I had the opportunity to try conch fritters for the first time. After lunch we snorkeled in the Cooper Island bay. Once again I unsuccessfully searched for seahorses. We did see another turtle this year as well as barracuda and several rays. After snorkeling, we returned to Guavaberry to get ready for mass. Mass was once again at the church atop one of the tallest hills on the Island. Dinner tonight was burgers grilled on the beach by Jeff. The final dive of the day was my favorite. Like last year we took part in another night snorkel. Using flashlights, we swam around the bay looking for wildlife that we would otherwise not see during the day. This year we saw two octopi, several sleeping parrotfish, bioluminescent phytoplankton, were stalked by tarpon, and was inked at by a squid. In all, it was an incredible and busy day but I am sad that marine bio is coming to an end. I look forward to the service project tomorrow and to presenting the project Henry and I have been working on all week to the teachers and staff.