And we're off!
Today was a long day of travel ... but it ended in Belize! Everyone was on time to meet our bus at New England College by 2:45AM. The coach bus drove us to Logan airport:
From Boston, our 7AM flight took us to Atlanta:
Three hours later, we landed in Belize. As we departed the plane, we were immediately struck by the moist, dense, warm tropical air:
We worked out way through immigration, baggage claim, and customs. We then walked across the hall to the domestic terminal to the Maya Island Air desk. After rechecking our bags and obtaining our boarding passes, we went back through security, and then out on to the tarmac to board our small plane for the 20 minute ride to Ambergris Caye. How small was the plane? Well, for one, we had to take 2 planes, because each one only holds 12 passengers (and we are 18 in total). Second, a student was seated in the copilot's seat!
After landing at San Pedro airport, we gathered our bags and took vans to the Tropical Research Education Center, where we are spending our week. All in all, it took us 15.5 hours to get from door to door.
TREC provides everything we need to conduct our research, including sleeping dorms (4 students per room with a shower and bathroom), eating facilities, licensed tour guides, boats for research, equipment, expertise, etc.
After checking into our rooms and unpacking, all the students tried out their snorkel gear in the pool to make sure everything was in proper order. At 6:30PM, we had our first Belizean dinner (spicy chicken, rice, salad, homemade tortillas, and a cake):
The food was plentiful and filling!
After dinner, we all listened to Dr. Ken Mattes, Director of TREC as he gave a safety presentation and orientation:
All in all, it was a long day, but one that can clearly be measured in miles traveled and changes both visible and climactic. Everyone is happy and excited to be in Belize!
Look for another update tomorrow where I will describe our first day on the reef.