Location: Jamestown, St. Helena
Splash! Over the dinghy backward and into the water, the certified divers went. We are taking those first breaths through our regulators as the bubbles cleared. Instantly we all realized we that we have just entered another ecosystem. As we descended down 40 feet, the landscape changed to a scene from Planet Earth; blue as far as the eye can see in one direction, then rocks and ledge with colorful fish in the other. Craig, the local dive-master, guided us through a cavern that opened up to thousands of tropical reef fish. The current carried us and created a Butterfly Fish ballet as it ebbed and flowed around colorful rocks. We were part of their dance as we explored, observed, and captured their grace. Peering under ledges and between cracks uncovered hidden creatures such as Scorpion Fish, a monster-sized Spiny Lobster, and Spotted Moray Eels. As the dive came to an end, our students could be found flipping off the dive boat as if to emulate the Pantropical Spotted Dolphins; we continue to see in the anchorage.
For those not yet dive certified, the morning was not wasted; many used their free time to explore the islands hiking trails, and some climbed the 699 steps up Jacobs Ladder to the top part of town. By late afternoon the divers had joined the others onshore, and most of us could be found chasing wifi in local hotels and cafes to connect with home or scouting out snacks for our upcoming passage. Back on board the boat this evening, we learned that we would be staying here at anchorage among the local boats and RMS St Helena until Friday. We are ecstatic to be a part of the historic decommissioning party.