July 8, 2016
We woke up at Dead Man’s bay and had a breakfast buffet. Then, fun divers departed in the morning and went for a dive at painted walls, a site known for its colorful collection of corals and sponges that cover sheer rock face. Meanwhile, the rest of the students sailed their respective boats to Little Harbor, a gorgeous and peaceful anchorage. We med-anchored the boats, tying our stern ashore, and set about preparing lunch – scrumptious chicken Caesar wraps.
Once bellies were full, Advanced Open Water students left to do their peak performance buoyancy and wreck dives. Ops brought Poparazzi, our infamous water sporting tube, around, and a lot of students went joy riding around the bay. Then, we all went turtling! A couple students managed to get their hands on a turtle, and we caught one! He was a real little guy, and everyone was respectfully quiet as students took turn taking measurements of the turtle. After we tagged him, we released him and watched him swim off. We hope to catch him next year and see how much the little dude has grown!
In the afternoon, Sierra students dissected lionfish! We discussed fish anatomy and biology, as well as the impacts that lionfish and other invasive species have had on coral reefs. We cut open the lionfish’s stomachs, and one had a full, undigested little fish in it! It was the perfect mixture of kind of gross and super cool.
Everyone returned to their boats after a rad afternoon to make sloppy joes for dinner! Then, Advanced Open Water divers headed back out to do their night dive! Meanwhile, the other students made brownie pancakes for dessert, which were fantastic. Night divers got back, and we settled in for the evening, closing out with a boat meeting.
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.