Location: Mountain Point, Virgin Gorda
As the smell of Elliot’s fresh pancakes filled the ship, Kas Kat crew rolled out of our beds (and hammocks) around eight o’clock. We listened to the morning CD as we prepared for a fun-filled day of turtle tagging and cleaning up the beach. After we ate our delicious breakfast, we met up with some ActionQuest students and headed to shore.
First, we took a short hike to the other side of the island to a rock-filled beach with waves crashing and splashing as I’ve never seen before. At a glance, it looked clean and pristine with no plastic to be seen. Elliot asked us how much plastic we thought could be found on the shore, and the vast majority of the shipmates all agreed there was very little to be cleaned up; that was far from the truth. We all spread out on the beach and spent five minutes looking for as much plastic as possible just where we were standing. When time was up, we came back together with our pockets overflowing with plastic. There were combs, bottle caps, straws and so much more that we had found buried under rocks and in Sargasso grass. We were all shocked by the revelation, and this reinforced the ideas we had learned the previous night about the impact that plastic has on the environment and future of Earth. After exploring the beach for a short while after cleaning, we headed back to the boat for a Ramen Noodle lunch and to prepare for turtle-tagging.
After lunch, all the shipmates headed to the bow to learn about turtles and their tagging process. We learned that we would be tagging green and Hawksbill turtles and would be using the manta-tow style to catch them. This is when three people are towed behind the dinghy with snorkeling gear to search for turtles. When one is spotted, the person who spots it dives down after it and the rest of the crew helps to corral it by assembling into a horseshoe shape and attempting to grab it. Once we had learned about the process, all the shipmates loaded into the dinghies with excitement bubbling between us. We searched for turtles for a few hours, but unfortunately had no luck spotting any manta-tow style, so we abandoned the dinghies to search by snorkeling through the reef. We still did not spot any but had fun swimming with countless exotic fish in the beautiful coral formations.
When turtle tagging came to an end, we headed back to the ship for saltwater showers and dinner preparation. Some students went with Elliot and David to learn how to drive the dinghies during this time as well. After we were all settled down from the fun-filled day, we had a delectable dinner of chili and rice prepared by our chefs of the day, Ally and Thomas. As the sun now sets over the bright blue water, we are all ending our day with a friendly game of cards. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow has to hold as another day in paradise.
(P.S. Happy Birthday Marisa and Jackie! – Sam is the best deckie.)