We had an amazing time at the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station (VIERS) last week. We snorkeled, hiked and talked with scientists, leading to a great week for everyone.
We started off the week with a hike to Yawzi Point and the sugar mill ruins, followed by a snorkel in Little Lameshur Bay. We saw many beautiful creatures including: Cocoa Damselfish, fan coral, Long Spined Black Urchins, and our first sighting of Brain Coral! We also did a seashore walk, during which we saw a great group of creatures. Then we rounded off the day with a night hike to the VIERS dock, and saw some of Greater Lameshur Bay’s nighttime creatures.
The next day we talked with some of the scientists staying at VIERS. Lindsey taught us about her research of recording the amount of sedimentation in the water. She also told us how important it is to keep the vegetation around the ocean, because it lessens the amount of sediment in the water, and the sediment harms the coral reefs. Brittany, who is working on her master’s thesis project, told us about her work with Mustard Hill Coral reproduction. Dr. Peter Edmunds shared his research regarding the amount of coral left around St. John. He was sad to inform us that the amount of coral has decreased from 48% to 7% in 26 years, though he has hope for what the future will bring. And what’s really cool is that we are the ones who can make the difference…..all of us working together to make the world a better place.
In the afternoon, we went kayaking in Greater Lameshur Bay, followed by a great snorkel where we saw some more interesting animals: a sting ray, Yellowtail Damselfish, and many species of coral.
On Saturday we went on the Reef Bay Trail, a 2 ½ hour hike across St. John, where we saw more sugar mill ruins, and many land animals, and the 1000 year-old petroglyphs. We then went on a ride on the Sadie Sea, which cruised us around to some great snorkeling spots.
The next day we went all over St. John. We snorkeled in the Princess Bay mangroves, toured the Annaberg ruins, and went swimming in Cinnamon Bay.
Thanks so much to the great VIERS staff and especially to our friends. Without you this trip would not have been possible! Having had this experience makes us realize what we are doing in educating people is important to the health of the coral reefs. We are now even more committed to promoting a healthier environment for our sea life friends.
Posted by Carly