Foxtrot 3 Trip Update Day 5 – Graham Benton, Program Director
This morning after waking up to a breakfast of bagels and cream cheese, we gathered around to prepare for our upcoming fish ID snorkel. Our marine biology instructors taught us about fish anatomy and how to identify different species of fish by their shape and color. We also learned about conservation, and some of the major threats to fish in both the BVI and around the world. We were introduced to project REEF: an organization that allows ordinary people to participate in scientific research by counting and measuring the number of fish on a reef.
After the lesson we all went to Cistern Rock near Cooper Island to snorkel around the rocky point. We used our fish ID booklets and our underwater slates to identify the plethora of fish that swim around cistern’s reefs. We saw so many different species; but most exciting were the scrawled file fish, the sharp nosed puffer and the queen angel fish, because they are so elusive and rare!
When we got back to our boats we made Quesadillas for lunch, and then travelled over to Salt Island for a hike to the top of the hill, where there is a large navigational light that shines out over the ocean. The view was amazing, and as we hiked back we chatted about music, movies, and what kind of shoes where in style. When we got home to our boats, we raised our anchors and sailed for Nanny Cay Marina on Tortola, which is one of the best marinas in the BVI. Its well kept gardens, beaches and shops make for a lovely place to spend the day.
Once we had docked our boats, we were given time to explore the marina and make some phone calls home. We went to the shops, ate ice cream, and saw the sites before preparing veggie stir fry for dinner and showering on shore. The showers are amazing here: huge, luxurious stone rooms with air conditioning and hot water!
After dinner we had a boat meeting where we worked to create our “Full Value Contract”. We discussed as a group the values and behaviors we wanted to see in our crew, and wrote them into a contract which we all signed together. After some free time to hang out we headed off for bed, tired from the day’s activities, but looking forward to the day ahead.