We awoke to a light drizzle and overcast skies, but that didn’t stop some from taking a quick morning dip (Jack). Three cups of coffee for our third day on the job went down smoothly along with our banana-nanza breakfast: banana bread pudding, banana pancakes, and the usual assortment of fresh tropical fruits. Following a stomach content analysis, it was determined that the group was high in potassium and ready to tackle the day. Our trusty captain/doctor/resident Belizian Ken drained his Lionfish-induced blister and had us on our way.
It was 45 minutes to our first location: Coral Gardens. This little-known oasis of Acropora is home to the only corals listed on the endangered species list. Acropora cervicornis, palmata, and their love-child prolifera spread as far as the eye could see. We even got to visit the transects where Dr. Greer conducts research and takes ‘core-al’ samples!
With such an expansive “garden of coral” also came various species of fish and other reef creatures. Much to our delight, we were able to dive down and observe a both noble and majestic sea turtle in his natural habitat hidden under a coral overhang. Along with this discovery, we found an enormous green Moray Eel, a needlefish, a nurse shark, and several Spotted Eagle Rays. This site was easily the most biologically diverse area we have visited thus far and is where we will be conducting our student research for our final projects (this class isn’t all fun?!). After an aerobic swim back to the boat, bean dip round 2 commenced and was savagely enjoyed by all. RIP beans.
Our second and final location of the day was on the way back to TREC, so we were able to cross over Shark Ray Alley and drive by Hol Chan Marine Reserve, two sites which we will visit later this week. We arrived at ‘Tuffy’s’, named for an old shrimp prowler that crashed into the reef many years ago, and geared up once again. We dove in and explored an Acropora reef wall that acted as a barrier for a deeper water channel. This site was difficult to navigate due to a strong current and overall fatigue, but we look forward to revisiting this location tomorrow for our night snorkel…WE HAVE *~GLOWSTICKS~*
Currently waiting on Cajun-style curry chicken for dinner…BREAKING NEWS: Maggie the cook just walked in with an armful of hot sauce, all is right in the world. Tonight we plan to take Crazy Canuck’s Trivia Tournament by storm for the everyday low price of $5 Belizian space tokens, or 10 US gumballs. Who will be crowned champion? Stay tuned.
Shoutout Brandon Bucy.