Today was a fulfilling dive day. In the morning, we got up early and prepared for two soft coral dives. Since it was Kevin’s birthday, our first dive was on the Shark Reef where we searched for shark teeth without feeding the sharks. To our surprise, there were many sharks at the bottom despite the fact that there was no food in the water. We were able to go to the center of the “shark feeding arena” and were completely surrounded by Bull Sharks. Everyone searched for shark teeth, and also enjoyed exploring a reef where we would usually just be stationary and watch shark feeding. Then we had a relaxing surface interval.
We spotted a rainbow, drank tea, ate cookies, and rocked to the large swells. On the second dive, we stayed in the same dive location but went a different route. We explored the 70 foot coral walls, cruising about ½ a mile in two different directions. It was exciting to observe the diverse and vibrant life that lives on this reef in comparison to staying in one spot and only watching sharks. Another exciting aspect was that almost everyone completed his or her Fish I.D and Underwater Naturalist Certification. On the second dive, each person had to identify a certain number of plant life, vertebrates, invertebrates, and symbiotic relationships. This was a very easy task to complete as the reef was bustling with life, in every form. We spotted a sea turtle, giant clam, octopus, sea cucumber, and a never before seen (by us) Map puffer fish. Not to mention about 15 Bull Sharks. After ascending the massive coral wall, we got back on the boat for a short boat ride home.
Once back at the house, everyone showered, relaxed and had fresh fish for lunch. After a quick round of cards, we left for Arts Village. We got snacks, exchanged money, got new movies, and went to the internet cafe. Although it was a short visit to Arts Village, everyone got the snacks they wanted and enjoyed some Wifi for a few minutes. On our way back we picked up our laundry. At 4pm, everyone gathered in the living room for our last lecture on Shark Conservation, where we learned about the importance of research and public education to help save sharks. A few nights ago we watched Jaws and saw first-hand how myths and misconceptions about sharks are formed. Although this was our last lecture, we still have a busy week ahead of us with our Research Paper and Final. Towards the end of the day, Bab’s Biddies made quesadillas for dinner. Then, we had a delicious red velvet cake with vanilla frosting (thanks Lindsay!) in celebration for Kevin’s 18th birthday. Happy Birthday Kevin!