Today was great and exciting despite not diving. We began by going down to the wifi room to learn more about turtles from Dr. Gore, the tagging process, and what we’d be doing today. This included learning about which species are endangered and what the really means in the broad context of sea turtles. I also learned the fact that sea turtles were so abundant that they were fished mercilessly and had such high numbers that one could almost walk on their backs until you reached shore.
After the presentation, the Sea Monkey group took a boat over to Little Dix bay in an attempt to catch sea turtles. The reason we did this instead of being trailed behind the boat is because the resort near the bay is closed for construction, so it’s an ample opportunity to observe the affects of the resort traffic on the turtles versus when nobody is present. Our efforts to catch a sea turtle began slowly and without much luck, as we wasted about 45 minutes aimlessly snorkeling around trying to find a turtle or barely get close to catching one. Realizing that our efforts weren’t working, we switched to spotting turtles in the boat, then rushing off quickly all at once in order to catch one. This worked surprisingly well, and after our first attempt with this new method, we caught at turtle. The turtle’s name was Dawson, after the marine one student that had caught him last week. I thought the most interesting part about him was the fact that he had live barnacles growing on him and his shell, as I’ve never imagined a sea turtle could be the host of a creature like that. Sadly we didn’t catch any other turtles, so we were worried that with only one, we’d only tie the first week’s number of turtles.
After finishing up tagging, we left to go have lunch at the harbor and then go to Savannah bay to go look at marine organisms. When we got there various creatures were in plastic containers to go look at and identify, thanks to the first group gathering them from the reef. Among these were various urchins, sea stars, sea pearls, a fire worm, and my favorite, lettuce slugs. I also learned that sea pearls are single celled organisms that have fresh water inside of them. When we were identifying the creatures I also learned that the lettuce slug can also be blue and red, which are variations that I’d really like to see in the future. After putting the creatures back, we swam around the reef looking for random fish and corals. As we were wandering around, Beth showed Logan and I a couple of squids swimming around and pointed out their attempts to change color in order to distract us. After getting a group picture, we returned to the cabins in order to prepare for the beach games.
Being the cabin full of seniors, we knew what we were getting into when confronting beach games. However, this knowledge didn’t help our lack of skill and we ended up finishing third out of four overall by default. We carried our crazy enthusiasm through the finish though, chanting “third by default!” at the top of our lungs while knowing the only first place we got was in pictionary. To finish out the day, we had some delicious lasagne made by Casey, something I remembered strongly from last year. After everything today, I’m really tired, sandy, and ready for tomorrow. I’m not sure of the agenda, but I’m hoping we dive the Rhone soon because it was my favorite dive last year by a long shot.