August 11, 2016
We all woke up today and had a wonderful filing breakfast of pancakes before heading to shore. We all met on the beach for a full morning of beach activities. Sierra and Foxtrot kids got a great lesson on turtle tagging and the VIMAT (Virgin Island Marine Animal Tagging) protocols. It was so cool to learn about the different species located in the Caribbean. We got especially excited to learn how to handle the sea turtles and get them tagged. We couldn’t wait to get in the water and find some turtle friends so that we could contribute to the data being collected.
Almost immediately we spotted a group of green sea turtles. Once we caught one of the turtles, we were able to get it properly tagged and took measurements, then released it back into the sea. We were all really excited to see a sea turtle so up close and really be able to contribute to science.
During the sea turtle tagging, Alpha and Charlie got to test out their watersporting skills. We went wake boarding, water skiing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding! We also got some time to just relax on the beach and drink delicious tropical smoothies.
After lunch, all the Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver, and fun divers got to get in the water! The Open Water students worked on finishing their confined water dives at Cooper Island while the rest went out to deeper waters and got to dive on some wonderful reefs. The students who didn’t go diving got to snorkel Cistern point which is a beautiful shallow water reef right off of Cooper Island.
After spending time with the beautiful creatures underwater, we all went back to our boats for a yummy dinner. Directly after dinner, the Advanced Open Water, Rescue divers, and fun divers went on an exhilarating night dive at the famous RMS Rhone. For most of us, this was our first night dive and we loved it! Those who stayed back enjoyed a night of getting to know their crews even better through onboard games and hanging out. After such a long and full day, we were all reunited back to our boats to have a great boat meeting and talk about our group goals for the program. We fell asleep quickly dreaming of what the next day had in store for us.
The greatest challenge during the program was staying entertained during the quarantine period. Not being able to leave your boat and not having a phone, which was a crutch against boredom, it was difficult at first to stay entertained.