Day 2


Another early alarm and we were off to breakfast, preparing ourselves for our first open water dives of the trip. Before today I had only dove in a murky lake and was eager to jump into the clear waters. After our dive briefing, we boarded our boat, the Twin Sister. We met our dive masters, Curtis and Bernie, who joyfully welcomed us onboard. After a little instruction and and a very short drive, we stopped at the dive cite.we geared up and I finally was able to get in the water. The water felt great, but the only slight trouble were the strong waves that pushed us away from the boat. For the first dive, Curtis guided us along a sloping reef reaching a max depth of about 60 feet. I saw more four eyed butterfly fish and French Grunts, but I also identified the banded butter fish because of its distinct thick black and white vertical stripe pattern. One of the largest fish I got to see was what we think could be a Jack fish, however I’m not totally sure. It was roundish and probably almost two feet. One of them swam very close, close enough that I could have reached out and touched it. After about half an hour, we surfaced and had to swim a distance back to the boat because the current had carried us while we made our safety stop. After reaching the boat, we rested during the surface interval, eating snacks and jumping off the boat. In about an hour we had made it to our second site. The name of this one was Rainbow Reef. The location got its name due to the presence of the rainbow parrot fish. This reef, like the other reef, had a shallow drop off, but instead of sloping the coral was oriented in finger like shapes. This time Bernie took us on a guided dive between the coral fingers and along a coral wall. One of the more exciting parts of this dive was swimming through a covered passage. We had been told there were lobster, but unfortunately I did not get to see one. We saw many of the same fish, however I saw more parrot fish than the first dive. At the end of this dive, my buddy and I, having made the mistake of free floating while making our safety stop on the first dive, held on to a chain while waiting for our computers to let us ascend. Exhausted, we waited for everyone to finish then returned to cobalt coast. At this point it was around noon. At lunch we talked about the coral we saw and I asked the Marine 2 students if the coral they saw in Hawaii was more colorful than the brown coral we saw. Surprisingly they said the Cayman coral was much brighter and lively than the coral they saw in Hawaii. Later that night Dr. Kirby explain how as you reach deeper depths you lose color visibility. This happens because there is less light absorbed by the coral. This means that the brown coral I saw was actually vibrant and colorful, you just need a flashlight to see it. After a great meal we were given a few hours to rest and enjoy ourselves freely. I found myself in my room resting and cleaning up before I decided to go to the pool with Ben, Sam, and Clark. We had it all to our self and the water was very refreshing. After relaxing we joined Dr. Kirby and Ms. Mathews on the beach to explore the tide pools along the coast. Along the jagged rocks we found a large conch shell and another large shell filled with little hermit crabs. Sam then found a coconut, which we proceeded to struggle to get open, but in the end we were successful. Sadly it had already rotted inside. After our time on we beach we decided to snorkel. We didn’t see too many new fish but we did see a good sized barracuda, about two feet long. After that we started our research on the ethics of sting ray city which we shared after a wonderful dinner. When reading the initial assigned readings, I didn’t see much wrong with sting ray city because it seemed like the rays were completely safe. However after deciding to research the other side, my opinion shifted. I learned that the Southern Sting Rays at Sting Ray City are fed squid, which is not part of their normal diet. This non natural food could be dangerous for their health. Also the mass tourist feeding has changed some behaviors, making them more likely to feed in groups and eat during the day, bot of which are not natural. There is potential harm to them through human interaction. Abrasions have been found on their skin and blood test have shown that they are less healthy. Other studies have shown that they are more susceptible to parasites when their mucus layer is rubbed off. However they attraction does bring in a significant amount of money for the Island, as there are about 2,500 visitors per day. There are also rules and regulations to protect the rays as well as health monitoring. I believe there are pros and cons to the Sting Ray City and both sides must be looked at. It will be interesting to see when we go how they attraction is monitored and how strict it is. This is an example of how humans interact with wild life for economic benefit, while the animals rely on humans for food. This relationship can help both, but possibly also hurt one. Day two was a success and I look forward for more fun to come.