Location: Petit Piton, St. Lucia
The days we’ve had in St. Lucia so far have been filled with amazing sights, from the colorful botanical garden to the warm natural springs. None, however, compare to that of Petit Piton towering above Oceanstar, most beautiful as the rays of sun hit in the early morning. As with every morning, the crew was awoken by the skipper, playing music to get everyone out of their bunks for breakfast. Before lunch, representatives of the SMMA (Soufriere Marine Management Association) dropped by the boat to give the students an introduction to the marine park in St. Lucia and what they have been doing to conserve the reefs surrounding the beautiful island. This includes everything from picking up trash to monitoring sedimentation rates and managing invasive lionfish populations. A brief lunch break was taken before everyone geared up in their SCUBA kits for another training dive: the PADI advanced open water deep dive! The SMMA transported the crew to the dive site known as Flight of the Superman, where they would participate in their very first drift dive. Once in the water, the students followed the SMMA guide, carried by the current along the reef. Not only was this a training dive, but a mini lionfish derby as well, during which the students were in charge of spotting lionfish for the guides to spear and store in a zookeeper to bring up at the end of the dive. With everyone back on board, the lionfish caught were dissected, and the filets kept for dinner in the evening. The lionfish was marinated and prepared by Carter, which perfectly accompanied the vegetable and rice stir-fry cooked by head chef Ciara and her sous Isaiah. Post dinner, we all answered the squeeze question chosen by the skipper of the day: rose, thorn, and bud, meaning our favorite part of the day, our least favorite part of the day, and what it was we were looking forward to. Lastly, everyone sat down to watch the documentary Racing Extinction before turning in for the night, ready to move to Marigot Bay, St. Lucia, in the morning.