Day #6: Wednesday January 19th, 2011
Tuffy reef, Caye Caulker, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Click here to see a web album with lots of photos
Greetings from sunny Belize to the cold and snowy northeast! This was a somewhat down day for us, so not as much as usual to report.
We began with our last research dive at Tuffy reef. The students switched locations this time, so that those who had been studying the deep reef were studying the shallow, and vice versa. Below you can see the students as they preform their research activities in the shallow area, using a polypropylene rope (which floats) to measure off a standard 12x12 meter area. Within that area, data collectors count each purple sea fan and brain coral, calculate the surface area of each, and record the health of each:
Tomorrow we'll be compiling our final data, so stay tuned for our conclusions!
After every dive, Captain Norm prepares a special secret-recipe warm bean dip for all the divers. It is enjoyed every time by all the grateful divers:
After our morning research, the students were treated to the rest of the day off. Many students used this opportunity to rest, some to catch up on work, and some of us (myself, Prof. Dunlop, and six adventurous students) took a 1:45 boat ride to Caye Caulker, a minor island off of Belize. On the way, we stopped to dive over the shipwreck of a barge that sank in shallow water in 1997. This dive gave the students a good opportunity to observe coral succession on a new substrate:
From there, we docked at Caye Caulker, a very small and mellow island, with one main street, everyone in bare feet, conch kabobs grilling in roadside stands, and an extremely laid back vibe. Here you can see the restaurant where we ate lunch (right on the water) and some sights from the island (such as they are!):
After a leisurely and relaxing boat ride back, we gathered at TREC and walked a half hour up the beach for a BBQ. Everyone enjoyed chicken, fish, and pork wrapped in tortillas. From there, we went out for frozen custard, and then back to TREC:
All in all, it was a relaxing and fun day, with some work to balance out the off time. Tomorrow is our last day of diving - and it should be our best! I greatly look forward to that report.
All our best from lovely Belize,
Eric J. Simon