Location: Peter Island, BVI
Everyone jumped out of bed this morning promptly at 7:00 to get Ocean Star underway to Salt Island before breakfast, and we scarfed down some bacon, eggs, and toast as we leisurely motored to the island. Thanks, Drew! (He’s our head chef today; that was a great pre-dive meal.) While underway, we also had an Easter egg hunt – Carolyn had hidden eggs with clues around the boat, and we had to work in our watch teams to find each of the following clues, as well as the candy hidden in some of them. At Salt Island, half of the crew dove the wreck of The Rhone while the other half hiked around Salt Island, then both groups switched. The Rhone is a steamship that sank in the 1860s when a hurricane ripped through the Caribbean. As the ship was blown onto a rock, the hull split open, and the cold water poured in, causing the hot water tanks to explode and blast the ship in two. The bow of the ship sank right off Salt Island, which we were lucky enough to explore today. As the story goes, residents of the island helped rescue survivors of the wreck and also buried the dead, and as a reward, they were gifted the island by the British government in exchange for 1lb of salt per year. Rumor has it that the salt on the Queen’s table is from Salt Island.
After lunch, we headed to our mooring off Peter Island, where we spent the first few days of our trip. How mind-boggling it is to return to where we started! It’s almost like coming home again – motoring into the bay and recognizing the shoreline and the familiar barge sitting in the middle of the bay. Once moored, we had a Marine Biology class, then went into a rigorous BA (Boat Appreciation). On deck, we did a complete deck and hull wash scrub, disassembled and scrubbed out the anchor locker (it was unbelievably muddy), organized the lazarette, rust busted, etc., and down below, we scrubbed the walls, floor, and companionway, organized the bookshelf and scrubbed out the cabinets. Boy, does it feel good to complete a BA and settle down to a delicious dinner of BBQ chicken wings, potatoes and veggies! Oh, and we had blondies for dessert because… dun dun dun… it’s Lydia’s Birthday!!! Now we’ll gather in the Saloon for two student presentations: one by Micah about coral reef conservation in relation to scuba diving, and one by Nelson, about the effects of sediments on coral reefs. Then it’s a good night’s sleep (or, for some, perhaps, doing some last-minute studying) in preparation for our OCE presentations and OCB final exam tomorrow! Bonne Nuit!