Ocean Cleanup and a Super Pinky - April 7, 2020

Wow, it’s been well over a week since the last update! We’ve been busy with our divemaster course and working on resolving our charter bookings that have been impacted by the pandemic. I appreciate those who reached out to see what was up since the blog went cold. Glad someone’s paying attention!

The Virgin Islands has locked things down a bit more since the last update. At the time I started this particular entry, a couple of days ago, we were under a “stay in place” order in the USVI, so boats were not supposed to be moving around, other than essential movement – for provisions, fuel, and other necessary things. We were still seeing some boat movement out there, but it was definitely less than usual. At that time, the beaches and trails in the National Parks were still open. Yesterday, on the 6th of April, the announcement came that all beaches and trails are now closed. So that’s a bummer, but we can still swim, kayak, paddleboard and scull in the anchorage, so it’s hard to complain too much. We were able to squeak in one beach bbq before the beaches closed and we had an absolutely magical evening ashore with a couple of yacht friends who have also been self-quarantined on their vessel on St John for a few weeks, so we know we are all safe.

Another couple in our Divemaster course organized a cleanup dive on Saturday as part of PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Project AWARE, a global movement of scuba divers protecting our ocean planet – one dive at a time. They have recruited all of the divers in the anchorage and put us into groups and assigned each group a section of the mooring field to clear. So, we splashed Saturday afternoon and found all kinds of junk on the bottom. Mostly garbage, bottles, cans, and that kind of stuff. We filled up two mesh bags with junk and dropped it off in an area that the Park Rangers asked us to place the booty from the cleanup. During our Divemaster course we were finding all kinds of random things – snorkels, fins, masks, water shoes, glasses, even a WORKING digital camera with a fish eye lens! We had about 4 baby octopuses come out of the snorkels so we were a little bit torn as to whether we should leave those alone next time since the little octopuses were sheltering in place inside those.

Probably the BIGGEST NEWS is that we completed what I THINK and HOPE is the hardest part of the Divemaster course. We had to sit on the bottom and exchange all of our gear – taking everything off (except our weight belts, wet suits and, yes, swimsuits for those of you who think that’s funny to ask :-P) and swapping it with our buddy while “buddy breathing” with one regulator between the two divers. THANK GOODNESS THAT IS OVER. I think that will be the hardest part of this whole thing, but I am not taking anything for granted.

Apparently tonight there is a “Super Pink Moon” at about 10:35 PM Eastern. This basically means that the moon will appear about 7% larger than the normal full moon and 14% larger than a full moon at apogee, or its farthest distance from Earth. We are planning to have dinner and then splash our kayaks and go for a late evening paddle around the anchorage, or possibly to another bay, depending upon conditions. Should be exciting! So with that, I will sign off. Don’t forget to get a peek at the Super Pinky this evening! Stay safe.

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