Day 4 Blog


Today we were split from the Marine 2 group. While they went off to a place called Necker Island. The rest of us stayed behind to study invertebrates and (try) to tag some turtles. First, we went snorkeling on a beach to catch and study some invertebrates. We caught a fire worm, a centipede-like creature that shot stinging needles, Four sea urchins, some lettuce slugs, named for their camouflage that looks like lettuce, a cleaner shrimp, and two arrow crabs, with spindly legs twice as long as their bodies, and a hermit crab. It was interesting watching the urchins slowly cover themselves with miscellaneous items in the tank in an attempt to hide themselves. After identifying the creatures in the tank, and eating a hearty lunch, we left to watch a presentation on sea turtle conservation. I learned a lot from the presentation. For example, did you know that in a lot of sites where sea turtle eggs are laid, people coming in to harvest them is actually beneficial? So long as only the first wave is harvested, the beach doesn’t become overcrowded with eggs, which increases the overall chance of survival. After the presentation, we went hunting for turtles to tag, specifically loggerhead and hawksbill sea turtles. We would hold onto lines that dragged behind the boat with our snorkels. If one of us saw a turtle, we would raise our arm to signal the boat and chase after it. If we managed to grab one, we would wrestle it onto the boat were it would be tagged and its size, location, and health would be recorded. That way, if it was caught again, any changes would be known. Using this method, scientists have learned that sea turtles will travel great distances in their life, and always return to their birth place when they need to lay eggs. Unfortunately, we did not catch a single turtle. After searching in vain, we returned to Guava Berry for dinner. Although we did not tag any turtles, and we did not go diving, today was nonetheless fun.