Day 4


The highlight of today was chasing sea turtles to tag them. We started with a lecture over sea turtle biology and habitat from a sea turtle biologist. After the quick lecture, we went to a nearby bay which was supposed to be full of sea turtles. The method to tag sea turtles was to drag five people behind the boat at a slow speed on ski ropes. We were clearly instructed several times to drop off the rope immediately after seeing a turtle and not take our eyes off it. Then everyone from the boat would chase and corner the turtle so that we can pull it out of the water. For the first part of turtle tagging I chose to be dragged behind the boat. Although it felt like we were going slowly in the boat, it felt like we were being dragged extremely quickly in the water. The problem was that we had to dodge box jellyfish that were being chopped up by the propeller. It was fun although terrifying at the same time. We had to dodge countless jellyfish while searched for the turtles. The only person who saw a jellyfish while being towed that day somehow did not understand that you had to let go of the rope and not take your eyes off the turtle. He continued to be dragged by the boat and waved at us with his head in the air. By the time we had stopped the boat the turtle was long gone. We also spotted two other turtles from the second story of the boat but they swam away before the guys in tow had a chance to spot them. We were disappointed to not catch a turtle but I had a good time and was happy to time part in an effort to understand more about sea turtles. After turtle tagging, we did an Invertebrate study. We snorkeled through coral in a shallow beach and collected samples. After about thirty minutes our instructor had picked up three lettuce nudebranches, two yellow arrow crabs, a Peterson cleaner shrimp, a hermit crab, a sea urchin, and the famously dangerous fireworm. I did manage to find a very cool peacock flounder resting on a rock. After researching all of them in an archaic reference device known as a book we held the less dangerous specimens and released them back to the reef. We had dinner on the beach again that night. After a game of frisbee and burgers grilled by Jeff we enjoyed another dance off featuring guys who misplaced things today.