A party from St Mary's School Tristan da Cunha spent the day aboard the Pristine Seas Expedition ship SVS Grenville on 2nd February.

St Mary's School party's day with expedition team

St Mary's School's day with the Pristine Seas Expedition Team

Report and photos from Victoria Stapleton

St Mary's School pupils with Pristine Team members aboard SVS Grenville

On Thursday 2nd February 2017, St Mary's School was visited by Paul Rose and his team from National Geographic's Pristine Seas project.

First thing, Paul Rose explained to the children what the project was all about and showed some of the amazing footage they had taken underwater and above water on Tristan, Inaccessible, Nightingale and Gough Island. Everyone really enjoyed this and was amazed at the beautiful footage.

After the presentation, the whole school went down to the beach and took some water samples and recordings with Jenny and Mia. Jenny explained how even though we can't see it, sometimes there are tiny pieces of plastic in the water that can harm our environment.

Then it was time to go aboard the Grenville. Trevor and his team came to pick up the children, teachers and scientists and after three trips it was time to learn more about what Pristine Seas was doing. Captain Archie explained to the children how he navigated the ship and how the radar worked to stop the ship from crashing into Tristan. Next, they went down below and Alan showed everyone his deep underwater camera and some of the footage he had filmed. Chris also showed an underwater camera but his camera was designed for capturing pictures of marine life at approximately 10 metre depths. Mia, the seal specialist, showed the children how to catch seals without getting bitten and Tristan managed to catch a rare Andy seal. Jenny, the head scientist, explained how we can learn about invasive species like the Porgy by looking at what's inside their stomachs and in particular looking at the fish ear bones from the fish they eat. Dave, the diving medical officer, showed everyone the ship's own personal decompression chamber which is there to make sure the divers stayed healthy due to doing so many dives a day. It was very small but looked quite comfortable.

After everyone returned back to the island, Paul Rose held a live Twitter event in the council chambers. Tristan, Dylan, Ryan and Kieran went as representatives to answer questions for the school children.

Everyone had a fantastic day aboard the Grenville and all the children and teachers had a different favourite bit of the day. At the Friday presentation, National Geographic donated a lovely atlas to the school and all the islanders received a Nat Geo cap. Everyone is now looking forward to September when they return to show the full length film of the Tristan Islands Expedition.

Pristine Team members working with the pupils on the beach and on the ship.
More photos of the day aboard SVS Grenville
Pupils arrive back at St Mary's School after their memorable day.