With a 7:00AM wake up, Sierra jumped out of bed excited about their last dive! Not only was it their last 2 tank dive but they were going to explore the famous Rhone shipwreck! Tommy was probably the most enthusiastic because he was two dives away from reaching his advanced certification goal that he set for himself this summer! On the dive, the students explored the bow and stern. They were swarmed by colorful fish and spotted a sea turtle.
After the dive, the students had lunch and an open evening for them to finish up their research projects. Each student started on their abstract utilizing data they had collected as well as resources on the boat. After a few hours and showers, Tommy and Chapman made us a dinner of baked ziti! We then headed to shore for a few frozen drinks and a game of apples to apples to wrap up our trip.
Happy Birthday Leslie!!!!!! Sierra woke up at Cooper Island and had a breakfast of scrambled eggs. As a surprise we put candles in the eggs and sang to Leslie. Following breakfast, we snorkeled to Cistern Rock. It almost felt like all of the animals came out to say good bye to the kids. Right away we spotted a large tarpon. We then swam by 6 large barracuda and a southern sting ray. Chapman pointed out a peacock flounder and the many grouper that he spotted. Leslie found a flame helmet and Maddy found an enormous smooth trunk fish! Meg pointed out a school of brown chromis and Tommy was on the hunt for angelfish!
After the snorkel, Sierra dissected 2 lionfish and had their last lesson on fish anatomy. We were very excited to find 3 fish spines in the belly of these invasive fish which was a great teaching moment. We were able to reemphasize points made by Chapman during his lesson and built on how destructive they are.
Unfortunately, it was now time to clean the boat for the end of program. Everyone worked very hard to clean out their cabins, heads, the galley and salon. Before we knew it we had to take our last dip in the Caribbean Sea and head back to Hodges. Tommy finished up his mate practical check off by performing a Man Over Board drill with fenders and the Chapman took over the helm and docked us at Hodges. We had a dinner of pizza and then surprised Leslie with a birthday cake! We cut the cake into 8 slices and it was consumed in less than five minutes! To wrap up our last evening together we gave the Sierra students homemade awards! We have had an amazing trip filled with long and exciting days followed by starry nights and rain. Through all of the good times and tired times, we have become a family and will miss each other very much!