written by Program Director, Jen Borderud
August 7, 2015
The turquoise water at Great Harbour, Peter Island was calm as a lake this morning as the Foxtrot and Sierra students woke up and emerged from their cabins, hammocks, and sleeping bags. After a hearty breakfast, it was time for a sail to Manchioneel Bay, Cooper Island.
Here, the students would be beginning their involvement in the BVI Turtle Monitoring Program. Everyone went ashore to learn a bit more about the sea turtle species of the BVI and the kinds of conservation efforts that we would all be a part of for the next two weeks. The rest of the afternoon consisted of starting the Open Water Diver course, getting ice cream and smoothies on shore, and turtling. After just 30 minutes in the water, the first turtle team came up with a beautiful green sea turtle. The team worked together quickly and efficiently to record measurements and note any injuries or abnormalities before releasing the turtle back into the water.
After a relaxing break for showers and dinner, it was time to learn more about ocean life at night. Our marine science instructors discussed everything from nocturnal adaptations to bioluminescence, and then everyone got in the water together at Cistern Rock for a night snorkel. As students jumped in with their masks and snorkels, the water lit up like the starry sky due to the presence of “biolume”. To end the night, each crew enjoyed hot chocolate and marshmallows back on their boat during boat meeting.
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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.