Bahamas Expedition: A first timer's experience

This guest blog was written by Christine (left), an Aquarium volunteer, and former intern in the Dive and Penguin departments. Stay tuned for more posts and pictures from expedition participants and staff diver Chris.

My adventure aboard the R/V Coral Reef II was the experience of a lifetime! We boarded the ship on Friday, April 27, enjoyed a fun dinner together and met all the other participants. Then on Saturday we made our crossing into Bimini, which was one of the roughest crossings anyone had experienced. We faced huge waves and down pour rain.

Smiling despite the rain: Trip participant George with staff diver Chris

Our next couple days in Bimini we faced more rain and very strong currents so we lost just about a full day and a half of collecting. We had such a great group of people on this trip that everyone kept their spirits up and we continued to have fun despite the bad weather.

The rest of the week brought us amazing weather and we brought some really great fish on board. Learning to catch fish with vinyl nets was extremely challenging but working with a fantastic Aquarium staff and ship crew we were able to learn and have a great time with it.

Shara, Sherrie and I diving the Sapona  

This picture was from our very last dive of the trip. It was taken at the Sapona shipwreck. I have never dived at a wreck site before so it was a very cool experience. Parts of the wreck stuck up all over the place along with strong currents so it made for an eventful dive. We were following and catching fish in every crack and crevice of that wreck. We were so determined to catch fish that we banged our heads and came back with rust residue from the ship all over our wetsuits and BCDs.

The night dive 

The night dive in Bimini was another great first time experience! We dove in groups of three. Shara, Genevieve and I dove together, we each had a glow stick attached to the back of our tank so we could always see our dive buddies. We were also were equipped with a flashlight. Once we zeroed in on a fish we wanted to catch, Shara and I had the nets so we dropped our lights and Genevieve held her light on the fish we were trying to catch. It took a lot of teamwork and underwater communication, but we did it! It was a little intimidating at first jumping into the dark waters but by far one of the coolest dives.

This was by far the most unique experience I have ever had. Catching fish while scuba diving, living on a boat for a week and a half, traveling, working, living and hanging out with many people that just a few days ago were total strangers! But I could not have asked for a better group of people to go on this trip with. Everyone worked hard and were just a lot of fun to hang out with. I will be talking about this trip forever and I hope one day to be able to go again because it truly was a fabulous experience.

-- Christine

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