What an incredible day! After only working on rescue diving at our past dive location, it was refreshing to get back into some fun diving. After breakfast, Dive Sea Saba picked us up on their dive boat for a two-tank morning. Our first location was at Tent Bay, including the shallows, deep reef, and wall. After descending, we first came upon a southern stingray burrowing into the sand. It was massive and cool to see it in action. Next, we came upon three Caribbean reef sharks! Excitement filled the water as we finally saw some bigger sharks. They circled us a bit, and we had some somewhat close encounters. As far as I know, no one was nervous or scared, which I consider a win. As we continued along on our dive, we saw filefish, some massive angelfish, an abundance of black durgon triggerfish, and even a few sea turtles. Near the end of this first dive, we got to swim through a canyon. It was exhilarating staying within our channel, which prompted a closer look at a big barracuda as well as a cute nurse shark. This dive was also exciting because we were all given dive computers to use. It was interesting seeing how it works and how it operates at our safety stops. Once we surfaced, we boarded the boat for about an hour of a surface interval while we headed to our next location. Nestled between some dramatic sea stacks, our next dive took place around an underwater seamount at a location called Man of War. The boat was positioned directly overhead the underwater mountain, so we descended right on top of it and then made our way down to the bottom. We spent the dive circling the seamount and slowly working our way back up. We found different creatures at different levels along the way. At one point, we saw upwards of 6 stingrays hiding within the sand. A little further up, we saw absolutely massive lobsters as well as some sea turtles. One was using a rock to scratch its shell! It was incredible to see the wealth of life supported by a simple geological formation. Once our dives were completed, we made our way back to the boat and devoured some lunch. Then, we had our final fish identification quiz, followed by our last marine biology and oceanography lecture. Heather and Meghan made a combo lecture for the final lectures because they were so similar, talking about pollution, climate change, and human impacts. I’ll definitely miss the engaging lectures they both provide once I get back home. As the sun began to set, we took our usual boat showers and got ready for another tasty dinner. Next up for this evening, we will study for our last oceanography quiz tomorrow and work on our final research paper! It is crazy to think there are only a few more days until all our classes are wrapped up.
I’m looking forward to some fun times without classes, but I also dread the fact that it means our time aboard Ocean Star is almost over. We are all striving to make the most of the time we have left. To all my friends and family, I love and miss you as always!