July 26 – Same drill happened today, as usual, surprising I know. Because three consecutive days of long intervals of diving is basically abuse to your body, we stayed mostly toward the surface today.
Our first activity for the day was an invertebrate collection and observation. Tyler and I teamed up to go and search across the shore of a beach on the northern side of Virgin Gorda. The beginning of our search was slow; however, the end was filled with catches. Between us, we caught two fisherman pearls, two Large Caribbean Hermit Crabs, a Sand Burrowing Crab, and a Lettuce Slug. The fisherman pearls are quite interesting. They look like translucent green balls, ranging from a 1/4in – 1.5in in diameter. One of our dive masters informed us that fisherman pearls are actually a single-celled organism. The entire ball is just one cell that has grown over years. I had trouble believing it for some time.
Also, another group found a octopus hiding in a conch shell. We played with it by placing different items in front of the opening and watching his grab them. Eventually, he made a wall in the opening with a small slit to watch us from his safe area. It was very interesting to see it try and protect itself utilizing its environment. After playing with it for a while, we had to leave to go tag turtles.
After a quick lunch, we went out on the Sea Monkey to Little Dix bay. Long disappointing story short, turtles will juke you and your entire livelihood so quickly, all the while keeping that smug face. Every time I came close to even approaching the turtle’s personal bubble (which is apparently really big), it would preform two easy strokes with its fins and be thirty feet away in a couple of seconds. It was probably one of the most majestically frustrating things I have ever witnessed.
Afterwards, we attempted to chase turtles while being drag behind the Sea Monkey. That was a terrible experience. Constant mask filling and snorkel flooding tortured us as we tried to scan the ground for turtles. At the end, one of the Marine 2 members saw a turtle. Again, the disappointing chase began. I kept up for about ten minutes before I gave up.
Turtles can have the victory; I was too tired.
So today, I learned several things. One, octopi like to construct defenses from prying eyes. Two, turtles have a large area of personal space. Three, those turtles know if anything enters those bubbles. Finally, a turtle will destroy any swimming human without remorse for the emotional pain they cause to us.