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Sierra 2 & Foxtrot 2 Day 11: Marine Biologist lesson on BVI coral reef conservation

By wpdev July 25, 2015
written by mate of Spyglass, Grace McKenna, Brought to you by the crew of Spyglass
July 24, 2015

VGYH to Marina Cay via White Bay

Today was an extra-awesome day for the Sierra kids! We got up early in the morning to be off docks by 7:00a.m. To help everyone out with the early morning, KB brought us all juice and muffins. We motored over to White Bay on Guana Island to meet with Dr. Graham Forrester, a marine biologist who works on coral reef conservation in the British Virgin Islands. Graham and one of his students from University of Rhode Island came out to our boat and talked to our students about coral reef ecology, threats to coral reefs, and what his research team has been doing to create solutions.  They discussed the coral nurseries they’ve been building on mooring lines and the coral regrowth methods they’ve been developing.

After our talk, all the students hopped in the water and snorkeled around to check out the coral nurseries that Graham and his students had built. We also got to see the reefs that they’ve been trying to restore! They zip-tie broken bits of coral down onto rocks on the reef and track the corals’ regrowth. When we got back out of the water, students had loads more questions about Graham’s research and about the marine science field in general. Everyone loved getting the chance to see what a career in marine biology might look like!

After our exciting morning, we headed over to Marina Cay to pick up a mooring ball for the night. Lisa was on the helm, and she controlled the motors with impressing skill! Ashley hooked while Quinton and Patrick threaded our lines and secured us to the mooring ball. Since we had a RIB in tow, Kenya got to be our “dinghy diva,” making sure the dinghy was secure while we moored. Once on the ball, we grabbed a quick lunch and our divers Adam, Hannah, Patrick, Matt, Skylar, and Lisa headed out to do their Fish I.D. Advanced dive. While they were gone, the rest of us chilled with students from other boats, went snorkeling, and did plenty of water sports.

Divers got back to the boat and James, Will, and Quinton made us spaghetti bolognaise for dinner. Then we headed to shore for an evening social at Marina Cay. Rum cakes, chocolate milkshakes, and virgin piña coladas were had all around for a fun evening ashore. Once we got back to boats, we were all pretty tired from our exciting day. We had a quick boat meeting and everyone fell asleep early!

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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.