Location: Petit Piton Point, St. Lucia
Today was our first full day in St. Lucia! The island is categorized by steep mountains, or Pitons, as they are called, that come right up to the edge of the water. As a result, there is an incredible drop right off the beach, for example, Ocean star is only 100 yards from land, but we are currently in 35 meters of water (115 feet)! One of these mountains, which is right next to us, is known as Petit Piton, hence the title.
The day began with a short lecture from the park rangers that patrol the waters around St. Lucia. Their job is to make sure all fishing and diving regulations are followed and, in conjunction with the police, to keep the peace out on the water. After the lecture, we were instructed to kit up for a morning dive, which the park rangers led us on. We clearly had the best dive guides around. Earlier, the rangers mentioned that we would try to catch a Lionfish if we saw one, and although I wasn’t there to witness it, the group came back with not one but two Lionfish. One of the park rangers stayed on the boat with us for a while to show us how to filet the Lionfish, and he started by shearing off its venomous spines located on all fins.
After the rangers left, we had lunch where we were allowed to take a small sample of the fresh fish so recently prepared for us; it was quite good actually. Immediately following lunch was a leadership class where, among other things, we were split into teams and attempted to build the tallest structure we could using only materials found on the beach (my group won thanks to Kelsay’s last-second addition of some plastic cups and bottles). The next few hours before dinner passed in a blur, as everyone did some last-minute studying for the marine biology exam, that would be after dinner. In an attempt to aid this effort, I told everyone during dinner to either ask a question they had or offer some information that they thought might be particularly useful in relation to the upcoming test. The results of this exercise seemed a bit mixed in their effectiveness and accuracy of the information, but hey, I tried…