Day 10: Strangers in Paradise

It takes time to build trust with a person you’ve just met. In a similar way, we TFBs need time to adjust from the forest into the surf. I’m learning that the insects at the ocean are much more bloodthirsty than those in the dry forest. We also practiced some diving research methods, most notably using hand-made quadrants to measure density and abundance of certain kinds of green algae. Navigation through water, as well as diving well took a lot of effort and many problems were encountered.

In a way, I feel like a stranger in a paradise setting, unaware of how to cope with the surroundings around me. Glover’s reef is one of the prime pristine locations of the world, with a great amount of biodiversity. Yet today, I realized that this paradise has some caveats. During a dive, I located a mangled box jellyfish (Cubuzoa, species: Alatina alata) swimming near the sea grasses. Box jellyfish are some of the most complex jelly-like creatures out there, not only due to their unique shape, but also to their notoriously strong stings and their advanced invertebrate nervous system that allows for complex visual tasks. In the picture I took, you may be able to notice small brown dots in the jellyfish, that may resemble pieces of sand but are actually its eyes.

Can you find the venomous box jellyfish in my photograph? Can you also find it's eyes?
Can you find the venomous box jellyfish in my photograph? Can you also find it’s eyes?

Box jellyfish aren’t really commonly seen in Glover’s reef, and those that do make it to shore are often torn apart by the currents and sharp corals that surround the atoll. But this sighting is cool but firm reminder for all of us to be careful of the things around us.

Jellyfish don’t seem too common by the Middle Caye, the island that we are residing. Perhaps, tomorrow’s boat ride out to deeper reefs will yield waters with these phenomenal creatures.

P.S.: I found a special stranger joining me on this paradise. Wish it luck on this isolated place and hope it can send postcards to the forest!

Say hello to my old friend, the Glover's reef roach!
Say hello to my old friend, the Glover’s reef roach!

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