Location: Mountain Point, Virgin Gorda, BVI

Today after breakfast, those students who were going for their Open Water certifications had their second and third open water dives. After practicing navigation and safety skills, the two groups and their instructors participated in an underwater running race. Captain Kris came in first, closely followed by some students. After we surfaced, we set up and ate lunch with much appreciation for the cooks. Following lunch, those students going for their Open Water certification went to do their fourth and final dive. Now we only need to pass our final to be certified divers! While we were diving, the students who were already certified went for their own dive and got face-to-face with a nurse shark hiding under the coral. After relaxing for a bit, we had a hands-on lecture focusing on the anatomy and eating habits of a few lionfish that the staff caught (lionfish are invasive species in the Caribbean, and removing them from the reefs is encouraged). We got to dissect and see the different parts of the gills as well as look into their stomachs and see what they had been munching on. It makes such a difference learning about something when you can work hands-on with it. As soon as we cleaned up where we worked on the lionfish, we set up for a Moroccan dinner. The question of the day, “Who is your role model?” was generally answered with “my parents.”After dinner, we’ll have our first marine biology lecture on mangroves, in preparation for our snorkel through the mangroves tomorrow. When lecture’s over, we’re eating cake and brownies in celebration of the double staff birthday–happy birthday Captain Kris and Scientist Nick! That’s it for today, and we are all looking forward to sailing tomorrow!