Our arrival in Belize!
Editorial Note: You can click on any photo to view a larger version of it. I will eventually supplement each day's blog entry with a photo gallery from that day.
We have arrived! 13 hours and 90 degrees later (seriously, we've been from -10F to 82F today) we have all arrived safely at the Tropical Research Education Center (TREC) in San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye off the northeastern coast of Belize.
We departed Atlanta about a half hour late and landed in Belize City around 3PM local time (we are the central time zone). Unfortunately, two students' bags failed to make the trip, but hopefully that will be worked out by tomorrow! After passing through customs and immigration, we boarded our third flight of the day aboard 12 person (including the pilot) prop planes of Maya Island Air. Several people mentioned flying the "puddle jumper" as the highlight of the day:
You know you're on a small plane when a student sits in the copilot seat!
The short flight took us over several small island and the barrier reef that we will spend our week exploring:
We arrived (via two planes) at the tiny airport of San Pedro:
From there, two taxis made two trips to bring us and our bags to TREC, our home for the next week:
Students were assigned rooms (triples or quads):
We were greeted with tropical heat (about 83F) and humidity and a few rain showers. Everyone jumped in the pool to cool off from the long trek and to test out their snorkel equipment:
Afterward, we sat for an orientation center with Ken Mattes, Ph.D., Director of TREC, who explained the rules and the agenda for the day:
Just to ensure everyone that this trip isn't all play, students took a species ID quiz. Students had to identify 50 species from among of list of 69 that we will be focusing on during this trip. I am happy to report that the scores were, all in all, pretty spectacular! This is, to a person, a smart and motivated group of students. In fact, I am pleased to report that on the 50 question quiz, the average score was a 94.8. Way to go, everyone!
And so ended a very long day. All went well. The change in climate could not have been more extreme, but in general everything proceeded very smoothly. We are all happy and excited to be here and can't wait to get into the ocean tomorrow!
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Everyone is happy and healthy and excited to be here.
Thanks for reading!