Location: North Sound, Virgin Gorda

The smell of pancakes wafted through the air and permeated the saloon and galley, waking us up just as the sun rose. A heaping pile of pancakes with maple syrup, jam, Marmite, and sugar as topping choices prepared us for our day. We had our first official science class today! (Well, we went over the syllabus and expectations, but it still was our first class!) We began our exploration of Marine Biology by learning about mangroves!

Mangroves are amazing trees for numerous reasons. One of which is that they provide stabilization for land. Another is that the mangroves serve as a nursery for fish as the roots provide protection from big predators! In the Caribbean, there are three types of mangrove trees: red, black, and white. An interesting way to identify black mangrove trees is that the leaves are salty if you lick them, as the salt from the water stays on the leaves. Anyways, we had a quick discussion on mangrove trees and then proceeded to snorkel around the roots! Juvenile Barracuda, iguanas, conch, and upside jellyfish were a few of the animals we discovered!

After our lab, we headed back to Ocean Star for a delicious lunch of Za’Atar Salad pita. The group then split up into two groups for sailing lessons. One group went on the Rhode 19′ with Jack, while the other group stayed with Monica and learned the right of way and rules of the sea. The wind was really wild, so wild in fact that we had to take down our jib sail and sail only with the mainsail. Though the boat came close to capsizing, we were able to remain upright for the entire sailing time! (We did get a bunch of water in the boat, and the other group did have Jack quickly jumping off.) The groups did switch. My group’s time with Monica was spent discussing certifications, rules of the sea (right of way), and general stories about sailing!

Now it is after dinner, and we are heading out for our first night out! Tune in next time to hear all about our exciting adventures!