Jul 10, 2009
Today started out with some delicious French toast, courtesy of our lovely cooks Nick and Sarah. After announcements, we all met in the cockpit (by the ship’s wheel) for our introduction to Oceanography, taught by the ever-enthusiastic Chris. Thus pumped up with zest for scientific exploration, we rode the dinghy out to the island, Virgin Gorda, for a morning hike. We landed on the beach, donned socks and sneakers, and marched along a narrow trail through tough, tropical brush. On the windward side of the island, opposite from the bay the ship is anchored in, we scrambled down a rocky hill to an even rockier beach, where Chris sent us off to explore the ecosystem. We discovered coconut husks, dead corals of many types, limpets, snails, and even a few spiky, deep purple sea urchins that we got to hold in our hands. I never expected something so spiky to be able to move around so well. As we left the beach, we took along as much of the unfortunate litter there as we could. Kristina even found a perfectly good, shiny carabineer clip. Back on the ship, those working toward their open-water certification met to go over some more knowledge reviews, and others took the time to relax and take a closer look at the books of knots in the salon. Lunch was some much-appreciated macaroni and cheese, with leftover chili from yesterday evening as an optional topping. In the afternoon, much scuba diving ensued. The already-certified divers took a check dive under the ship, testing out their skills and equipment. Those working on their certifications headed off to practice “confined water” diving, and apparently they came upon some pretty sweet sea life, like a sea slug. However, two of us had to stay behind on the boat, where we helped fix a broken switch, read, and practiced all sorts of knots. When everyone came back, there was a lot of fun with riddles, twenty questions, and brain benders. We “showered” again later in the afternoon, and many are just getting used to soaping in their bathing suits and rinsing in salt water. Dinner was some truly amazing sloppy joes with corn and mashed potatoes, and even the picky eaters on the crew gave them a try. After dinner was a full Red Cross course in first aid and CPR – very useful indeed. Altogether, another productive and fun day!