Location: Young Island, St. Vincent

Today was the Group’s first full day in St. Vincent territory, and the area did not disappoint! This anchorage is an incredibly special spot because even though it is relatively open, it is still very sheltered by a surrounding ring of coral. The coral, although not visible above the water, breaks the waves before they reach the anchorage, this effectively creates an almost magical ring of calm in the middle of the exposed ocean. Right after breakfast, students were instructed to grab fins and snorkels in preparation for our exploration of the marine life at this anchorage. A portion of the water near one of the three surrounding islands is roped off to give relative safety to divers and swimmers, and it’s a good thing too because this anchorage is very busy with boats constantly moving in and out and dingy’s ferrying people to and from the surrounding islands. Anyway, we were all brought out a few at a time to check out the local marine life. The first thing many of us noticed was the many sea turtles feeding on seagrass at the bottom. I personally was surprised by how relaxed the turtles were around us; we could get within only a couple feet before they started to swim away, which allowed a few students with underwater cameras to get some awesome pictures. While the turtles were probably the most flashy animals underwater, there were at least two large schools of fish in the area and an array of sea urchins. One urchin, in particular, looked to be about 2 feet across, the largest I’ve seen to date by far. After a few hours, we each made our way to the nearby beach separately, based on when one felt they had seen what the area had to offer under the water. Once there, some students preferred to stay and enjoy the sand while others, myself included, set out to explore the small island. Notably, there was almost no litter on it, probably owing to the fact that this area is only accessible by small personal yacht and so is relatively untouched. The only animals of note were a couple of large Iguanas scurrying about, but there were a bunch of tree-like cacti, which were pretty cool. Finally, it came time to head back to the boat for lunch and some downtime. Most of us spent the next 3 hours, either sleeping or studying while we cooled off and waited for dinner. After another dinner of some variation of pasta (I’m really starting to miss red meat…), we gathered in the salon for an Oceanography lecture where Steph taught us about various types of sediment: what they are made of, where they come from, where they are found, and how they are useful. Tomorrow we pull up anchor and sail for the island of Mayreau!

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