Get This Show on the Ocean - Page 3
We Dolphins got to do a cool naturalist dive at Leverick Bay to locate and ID two local aquatic plants, four invertebrates and five aquatic vertebrate animals.
Later we snorkeled in the mangroves at Vixen to look at the different fish that live there. We were surprised by how much smaller the animals were in the mangrove area than they were out in the big ocean; then we discovered that they were all juveniles and that the mangroves act as great fish nursery.
After that observation, we got ready for our first dance. It ended up being really fun, especially when the whole gang pulled me onto the dance floor. Chaz yelled, "Can I get a Nato?" and everyone yelled, "NATOOOOOO!" All the other ActionQuesters must have thought our boat was insane, but we didn't care – we all just laughed. At that moment I smiled and realized that I was making some of the best friends I've ever had. I wouldn't change that moment for the world.
SLEEPING IN AND MY PFD TAN
I love to sleep in. LOVE IT! And that's exactly what we got to do after the dance. We got to sleep in till 7 a.m.! (INSERT SARCASM) It's a lot better than 5:30 or 6, though. I woke up while we were sailing to Peter Island. The sail took up most of our day, and I got a horrible tan because of my PFD.
When we arrived, we were informed that we Dolphins were going to go on our first PADI Underwater Photography specialty dive. Emma and I were buddies, and I have a million funny pictures of her from that dive, even though the dive was mainly to focus on taking pictures of underwater life. I just had to slip in some funny ones!
Something amazing happened on that dive – something that made my whole trip! My favorite fish is the juvenile trunkfish. I was thinking, "Man, wouldn't it be amazing if I could see one? I haven't seen one since last summer!" As soon as I had that thought a little juvenile trunkfish just popped out of the rocks next to where I was taking a picture. I almost died! It must have been fate.
The Rhone is considered to be one of the world's best wreck dives, and that was our next dive! The Rhone is divided into several parts, and it takes about two dives to cover the full wreck. It's filled with schools of bigeye snapper and eels, and there's colorful coral growing off the wreck. Another cool thing is that there are bottles of wine imbedded in the wreck by coral growth.
I swear, one stoplight parrotfish had something against me – it kept swimming into my mask and nibbling at me. Shawn and Joe had a great laugh watching me scream underwater every time this fish decided to harass me!
Later that night we returned to do a short night dive at Peter Island for a navigation test. Nobody got lost and we all made it back in time for movie night – almost better than dessert for TV-starved teenagers!
The Dolphins were officially assigned to do scientific observation for our final project. We had to pick something to observe, come up with a hypothesis about it and then test the hypothesis.
Emma and I decided to study the eating habits of three different herbivore fish at 15 feet and 30 feet. Our initial objective was to determine if and why the food consumption of parrotfish, damselfish and blue tangs is different at different depths.
Our hypothesis was that parrotfish and other fish feed more in shallower water (15 feet) because the algae growing in the coral has more light so photosynthesis causes the reef to be more lush. We would be working on this assignment every dive we could.
Emma and I went to different areas of the reef, not too far away from each other, and created quadrants by swimming 20 kick cycles in each direction. Each of us was at a different depth, and we observed how many times fish took a bite out of the reef. We had little charts where we documented everything. At the end of all our observations we were able to make a conclusion and a chart. Pretty clever, huh?
NATO'S THREE-HOUR TOUR
On the sail to Hodges Creek I actually got to be the skipper! I learned a lot about navigating a boat (and we arrived safely) thanks to John-O.
We were getting ready to dive at Alice's Wonderland on the southwest side of Ginger Island. It was extremely rough and we all had to be very careful when getting in the water. If you learn how to dive no matter the circumstances, you'll be quite the diver, though!
When we got in the ocean, the current – surprisingly – wasn't too strong. The corals were very healthy, which always puts a smile on my face; and, of course, there were huge mushroom coral heads. They are so weird-looking! Joe even saw a spotted eagle ray! I was really jealous – I think anyone who didn't see it was jealous!
Later that night we listened to an inspirational tape along with every ActionQuester in the BVI. It was extremely life-changing; I'd like to tell you everything about it, but you just have to experience it on your own.
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