Day 4


Last night I went to bed around 10-10:30 and woke up around 7 today. Finally getting 8 hours of sleep was very necessary and made me feel so much more refreshed. After I packed, my cabin and I walked down to the entrance where we met everyone and got a ride from the taxi to the marina for breakfast. We ate the same thing from the past couple of days and it still tasted very good. Around 8:45 we split up and got situated on our boats. Casey drove sea dragon and I today and we set off at 9 for Mountain Point. When we got there, sea dragon anchored in first and once we were in, sea monkey came right next to us so we could attach the two boats together. After a little briefing, all the students jumped in and got to snorkel to check out the area. Our objective was to find some bleached staghorn coral needing rescue and replant that coral somewhere healthy where it can flourish. Bleached coral is coral without polyps living on the actual coral structure. When it is bleached, it is a bright white color. It is very noticeable and means that there is something wrong with the area or something that has been done to it to make the polyps move from the calcium carbonate. After looking for about 30 minutes and getting a good idea of where some might be, we headed back to the boats for a discussion over proper coral replanting. Casey gave great instructions covering the technique’s and background of how to replant. Our first dive came right after the briefing around 10:15. Caitlin guided my group and I around the sea floor where we properly detached coral fragments from bleached fragments. We got about 6 staghorn pieces and placed them by the floating ring above us on the surface. Since we finished much sooner than the rest of the groups, Caitlin took us to the sandy portion of the reef where she showed us some very large crabs in giant shells. Then she showed us some bouyancy tricks by swimming upside down with her feet up in a hand stand style with no hands by controlling her breathing. After that she showed us how to blow rings of bubbles with our regulators. I was not good at it at all but some other guys from my group caught on. When we got lower on air we headed back to the boat and had an early lunch with everyone. We had turkey and chicken sandwich’s that were so refreshing. When you are super tired and your mouth is really dry and tastes like salt water, anything tastes amazing. I sat on the bow (front of the boat) with some students while students from sea monkey sat on the bow on their boat. It felt amazing outside because it was very very cloudy and rarely ever did the sun peak. There was also a wonderful breeze and it was roughly 85 degrees out so it was just awesome. I had a great time at lunch and my friends made me laugh so hard at some points and some people were having trouble with headache’s which is what I always have back in Dallas but for some reason I haven’t had a headache yet, not even from diving. It’s like I’m meant to live here! I wish. Anyways, after lunch everyone got ready for the second dive which was actually planting the coral. When you replant the coral you find a healthy area for it to grow and place the coral fragment on a peg which is cemented to a cylinder block at the floor of the ocean. My group and I jumped in first and swam to the ring at the surface (but under water) and found our cylinder blocks with the coral. Now some of the cylinder blocks had been previously placed down there the week before from the Marine Biology 2 class. My group got block 8 where we had 8 begs while the other groups had 4 or 6. We measured the coral fragment with a ruler and counted how many pegs (branches) it had. Then we planted them by placing them next to the wooden pegs and zip tying them. We did 4 coral replants and then met in the center of all the cylinder blocks (which were in a large circle) and met up with all the groups who each planted one coral in the “School Plant”. This was a large group of blocks put together in the middle with many pegs – roughly around 20. Each group had one or two people replant and gather proper data. After that we had alot of air left so we played around the reef. Joe Ponder and I attacked each other and tried to scare the other. Joe would surface and I would drag him down which really pissed him off. Doc dove from the surface and creepily got his face a good inch away from mine which scared the crap out of me and people who were around me could here. After we finished, we all met back up at the boats where we gathered our stuff together and headed back to the marina around 3:15. When we got to the marina, we hurried and got all of the dive gear off the boat and everything cleaned because it was about to rain. We hopped on the taxi and got back to the casa’s around 3:30. We all showered and had about an hour to chill. At 5 the taxi came to the entrance to get us and shuttled us to this absolutely amazing church that sat at the top of a hill. The view was incredible. It looked over both sides of the island and the marina. The priest was probably the smallest guy ever but he was super nice with a great attitude. We had mass and 2 Jesuit students read the readings. After mass we drove back to the casa’s and quickly changed back into our swim suits and got our scuba gear. We walked down to Guava Berry beach where the whole dive crew had set up dinner with a grill and tiki torches lighting the tables on the beach over looking the ocean and sunset. It was absolutely stunning. I have never seen something more beautiful. The water was absolutely gorgeous and the food was awesome. Everyone chilled and ate dinner, played with the frisbee while Dixie the dog ran after it, and enjoyed the evening. After dinner Casey talked a little bit about the night snorkel and then handed out flash lights. Around 8:15 we jumped in and snorkeled in pitch black with flash lights out to the reefs. Let me tell you… I have never seen so many young men so comfortably bunched together before… After everyone saw the first tarpan… It was like there was no such thing as a comfortable zone with another man anymore. The snorkel was so awesome though besides that. It’s a total different ball game when its night time. We saw all different things including, different lobsters, needle fish, sting rays, tons of urchins and slugs, tarpan, and I finally saw a star fish! I have been dying to see a starfish in the wild. They are one of my absolute favorite. Also, Caitlin told us to not turn off our lights, but face them towards our bodies to wear it was pitch black. After we did that we put our faces back in the water and bioluminescent plankton swarmed us. It was the coolest things I have ever seen hands down. I have never seen something so amazing and unique in person. It was light dancing in stars. Truly amazing. After the snorkel we swam back to shore and gathered our stuff. Everyone was super exhausted and tired of being sandy. We headed back to the casa’s and got in about 9:15. Everyone showered and jumped right into bed without a word. It’s 11:15 now and I am just now finishing my blog. We didn’t have to blog today because we were so busy and it was too late to go to the Internet lounge so Doc and Mr. Kirby just gave us the night off but it was too much of an incredible day not to blog so I did anyways.