First week at UVI

Arriving at the Virgin Islands (USVI) was a bit chaotic. Unfortunately, I tested positive for COVID while at home in Ohio for winter break. Following guidelines posted by the CDC and the Virgin Islands Tourism department, I submitted my test along with a doctor’s note specifying my quarantine dates and writing that my symptoms were no longer present. When submitting the documents to the USVI, I was denied since my test was positive. My flight was changed to a couple of days later for time to take another test. The morning my flight was supposed to leave, I received an email that my arrival was approved, but my travel plans had already been changed. It was incredibly stressful, the guidelines for COVID testing and travel seem to change everyday. Luckily I was able to find another testing site and tested negative before the new departure date.

I landed at the USVI on Saturday, January 8. The airport was busy but it was fairly easy to tell where you were supposed to go. I got a taxi to the university and headed to the check in location. When I got to UVI, I was temporarily put in a quarantine location to wait for the nurse to administer a COVID test. It is required for every student arriving and living on campus. After waiting a couple of hours, I was tested and cleared by the nurse just in time for dinner. Traveling is already stressful enough, COVID protocols made it much more confusing and tiring.

The beach near UVI is called Brewers Bay, it is a little secluded bay right next to the airport. I have already been snorkeling multiple times, trying to get out and see the life in the bay as much as possible. It is a hotspot for sea turtles since the bay is covered in seagrass. There are also a few Christmas Tree Worms, they are my favorite thing to see when snorkeling and scuba diving. There isn’t much coral in the bay, any spots of it is surrounded by dead coral and algae. I hope to find another snorkeling spot that has more coral and diversity in fish. Otherwise, it is a great beach to have only a 5 minute walk away and I have loved watching the sea turtles.

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