You Better Belize It!

 

Hey friends!  Geology 105 finally made it to Belize to begin our coral reef adventure!  This past week we have been working hard learning and studying different coral species and organisms common to the Belize reefs to get ready for our field research.  Sitting here in 90 degree weather and feeling the salty ocean breeze, we do admit that it is hard convey to you that we are actually doing work, but we promise we are!The morning started with loud alarms buzzing and everyone checking on each other at 4 am in order to get ready to leave.  With the vans packed full of luggage and drowsy students, we were finally ready to go!  The thunder, lighting, and torrential downpour had us a little concerned, but all flights went smoothly.  Checking in, however, was a different story.  Picture, for a moment, a group of 14 psyched college students in Chacos and baseball hats swamping the check-in desk with 25 duffel bags – a little hectic right? What isn’t apparent in this picture, though, is that the person with the most bags was none other than our fearless leader… Professor Greer 🙂 Which is funny… since she told us to pack light!  (Professor Greer needed to bring extra research equipment in crates for summer research – I guess that is a good excuse).

We were excited to see that upon our arrival to Belize all of our bags were accounted for.  But what was more exciting were the puddle jumper planes! The planes were so small that our group split into two separate flights.

The gang with our lovely, teeny tiny puddle-jumper plane

The gang with our lovely, teeny tiny puddle-jumper plane

We didn’t care about the size once we were in the air, though!  Flying from Belize City to San Pedro Island, we crossed over gorgeous views of the reefs.  None of us realized how vast the reefs would be.  Once we finally landed on the Island, we took a cab to the Tropical Research and Education Center (TREC) – our home for the next 9 days.  The real thing exceeded our expectations when we saw the pool right outside our rooms and when we were greeted by plates of nachos and grilled cheese sandwiches.  Needless to say us college kids were pretty happy.

We ate, moved in, tested out our snorkel gear in the pool and went over the TREC rules with Ken (i.e. Don’t poke a lionfish!).  We also explored TREC a little more and found the hammock garden in the backyard.  Soon after, we walked along the beach and tested our coral identification skills on the dead corals that were washed along the shore.  Our studies this past week must have paid off, because we knew almost all the corals we found! Maddy even discovered what her new favorite coral was when she found 10 Manicina areolatas.

Later tonight we’ll meet for dinner and have our nightly paper discussion, during which we all read primary literature on coral reefs.  We’re all excited for a good night’s sleep and our first day of snorkeling tomorrow.  We’ll have breakfast at 8 and be on the water by 9!  Be sure to check in for more updates tomorrow night!

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Our view from the plane

Our view from the plane

The pool and our rooms

The pool and our rooms
Practicing our snorkeling for tomorrow
Practicing our snorkeling for tomorrow