Day 10- Scuba and Snorkeling at Tektite

The smell of French Toast at the breakfast woke us up in the morning, along with Stephanie’s birthday papaya. Today’s a big day for the scuba divers. I’ve been waiting for the scuba day since we got to St. John. However, the yoga after breakfast is still one of my favorite parts of this trip. We got to try some meditative unbelievable yoga poses like forearm stand (pincha-mirasanah) and pendulum. We spent the rest of the morning enjoying passion fruits and coconut from the trees and packing dive gears. A few of us gained some community service hours by helping VIERS.

After lunch, we hopped on the two dive boats from the dock. The boats stopped at the spot of the Tektite. In front of us was a wide-open mountain cliff. The ocean was aqua blue and crystal clear as always. The scuba divers were excited and ready to go after setting up our tanks and BCDs. It felt good to be able to breath underwater again. Also, we finally got a closer observation of the coral reef in St. John after dozen times of snorkeling. The coral reefs are growing back after the coral bleaching and disease events in 2005 and 2006. Soft corals, sponges, algae were abundant in that area. We went down to around 30ft. Some jacks, wrasses, trunkfish, squirrelfish and other kinds of fish were easily discovered. I even saw some sea walnuts (jellyfish) in the water. Our instructor pointed out a massive chain moray with its mouth open hiding in the cave. It creeped us out a little bit. There was a blue-purple anemone looks like a nudibranch drawing my attention away. The whole team got a opportunity to see the Tektite T-shape platform. We dived through a few narrow tunnels on the second dive. Scuba allows us to swim between the reefs. I personally felt like a part of the ocean. We saw a lot more gorgonians and Flamingo Tongues (mollusk). A trumpetfish about 2 feet long was wandering on the bottom. In the end, the dive instructor instructed me to do some buoyancy performances on the bottom like headstand and back flipping. The whole diving process was a pleasure and enjoyable. The snorkel group saw some squids on the surface that we couldn’t see. We also saw a sea turtle when we got back to the boat.

The night snorkel and bonfire started after dinner. The night snorkel group was able to see a baby octopus, squat lobsters, a huge stingray, and porcupine fish, even though the water was murky. The rest were enjoying the marshmallows at the bonfire. Guessing everyone was tired afterwards.

~Shanshan He