Beautiful morning at Church Bay but southernly wind reduced fish sightings and made swimming and approaching boilers (slightly submerged reef bowls with waves washing in and out of them) challenging. Many of the common fish were present; stoplight parrotfish, blueheads, Bermuda chub, French grunts, blue striped grunts, and sergeant majors. Alex spotted a large black grouper that upon being noticed headed out to sea. Brian found a spotted eagle ray that he followed into two separate boilers before it turned towards the open seas. The increased chop mixed with being the final day contributed to a tiring morning snorkel for all.
Leaving Church Bay we stopped at Gibbs Hill Lighthouse for a beautiful view of the island. From the base of the lighthouse we could view multiple snorkel locations we previously visited. We learned that this lighthouse is incredibly unique due to being one of the first lighthouses in the world to be constructed out of cast-iron. It is also the largest lighthouse on the island.
On our drive to Somerset we passed St. Anne’s church which is the church that Church bay was named for. Arriving at Somerset the bay was very calm and we anticipated turtles. Most of the class had a chance to swim with turtles and even touch the shells of the friendly green sea turtles. This stop was a quick but successful last minute addition to the trip.
We returned to Spanish point for our last dive. Our previous snorkel here was calm, clear, and truly demonstrated Bermuda’s biodiversity. This visit consisted of rougher conditions resulting in a reduction of visibility. There weren’t many fish around the reefs of Spanish Bay but a few blueheads, sergeant majors, squid, and four-eyed butterflyfish. Carol and a few students however came across a green sea turtle, two barracudas, and two smooth trunkfish. The difference in fish sightings between our two trips to Spanish Point demonstrated how even at one location the conditions and biodiversity can change in a short period of time.
Tired from a successful trip, everyone settled into BIOS for a calm night perfect for catching up on work and taking in the fresh Bermuda night sky one last time.
Alex White, Carol Vassar, Brian Slopey