Our day started off with a delicious breakfast and tour provided by the wonderful VIERS volunteers. The Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station (VIERS), is available for use as an education site for students, and a quiet place for scientists to do research. The station manager Tony provided us with an in-depth tour of the inner workings of the facility, including the system for generating solar power and the methods in which the station collects and conserves water.
We then headed off on a short hike down from the camp to Little Lameshur with our wetsuits and snorkel gear in tow. As this was many students’ first time snorkeling, we took some time to acclimate to the beautiful new surroundings.
We saw a plethora of amazing fish that we may or may not have struggled to identify, at first sight. As we adjusted, all of our studies paid off! Below are three of the many species we observed. On the bottom left is a French Angelfish Juvenile, on the top left is an Ocean Surgeonfish, and on the right is a Squirrelfish.
After a short break and a delicious lunch, we left camp and headed to Great Lameshur to do a beach clean-up and snorkel. The beach clean-up proved successful, with a collection of 19 pounds and 12 ounces of trash. We then snorkeled out to Donkey Bight. This snorkel was in a very different habitat than the first, and the diversity of fish observed reflected this.
On our snorkel back, we had the fortunate opportunity to witness two Spotted Eagle Rays (pictured below) and a Southern Stingray. A few even saw turtles!
We are looking forward to a busy day tomorrow when we leave the VIERS area and explore more of St. John!
Signed: Mae and Suzanne