Location: St. Pierre, Martinique
This morning we woke to the gorgeous peak of Mount Pelee, legs still sore from yesterdays hike. After a delicious round of breakfast burritos, the crew of Ocean Star picked up anchor and moved slightly south along the coast in preparation for our morning dive. Prior to the dive, students had seamanship class (PEN), where they learned how to calculate the estimated time of arrival. Once class was over, dive kits were set up, and everyone gathered for a dive briefing. In 1902, Mount Pelee erupted, killing over 30,000 people and sinking 12 ships anchored in the bay of nearby St. Pierre. Our dive would be taking place on one of those wrecks, the Wreck of the Raisinier. The Raisinier is a 130-foot barge, sank in about 30 feet of water. She is broken up into 3 pieces and has been officially reclaimed by the ocean. Large barrel sponges and mounds of grooved brain corals cover her hulls while colorful schools of snapper and an extremely friendly porcupine fish swim overhead. This was many of our students’ first fun dives without an instructor, as they are now skilled and certified Open Water Divers. After trading stories of spotted moray eels and octopi over pasta salad, everyone headed back below to begin oceanography presentations. Over the past 30 days, students have been researching and learning about a topic of their choice. Topics ranged from global warming effects on hurricanes to causes and issues associated with jellyfish blooms. Everyone did a fantastic job, and we all left a little bit better informed. This evening will end with an exam in marine biology. We have enjoyed our stay in Martinique, but I, for one, am extremely excited to be underway to the exciting island of Dominica tomorrow!