Location: Soufriere, St. Lucia
On day 38 of our voyage, we all put our religious differences aside and went to a local church to observe Catholic mass. For some, it was the first time observing organized religion in weeks and other years. Personally, it was a great experience comparing different prayers and hymns across different cultures but still recognizing the same core practices. The trip to church also allowed us to get our first look at a St. Lucian town. Many people took the opportunity to see some of the great views along the coast, while others stocked up on snacks and tried the locally fresh-baked fry bread.
When we got back to the boat, we were greeted by the Soufriere Marine Management Area rangers, who helped us put newly acquired diving skills to the test. After breaking into two groups, we completed a Reef Check, surveying the local fish and invertebrate populations along the reef. Each team had two people dedicated to identifying the fish and two for identifying invertebrates. These people swam on either side of a 50m transect line that was laid out by a fifth team member while a final member photographed the species we saw as well. It was a great feeling to use our skills to help collect data that can be used to help contribute to the scientific community, and also cool to really be doing something underwater. The marine management area seems to be working well, as this dive site had some of the best coral, sponges, and fish life that we had seen so far on the trip. After dives, we came together for an OCE class where we learned about wind patterns, and Lydia gave her presentation on hurricanes. We then enjoyed some downtime on the boat in our beautiful anchorage, dinner, and are now getting ready for an MTE class before bed.