I might finally appreciate the vastness of the ocean. This may sound obvious, and I’ve always known that the ocean was huge, but I don’t think I ever really understood what that meant. This morning we went to the fore reef, which was far deeper than anywhere I’ve swam before. Although the water was crystal clear, I couldn’t see the bottom in many places, and in most directions there was nothing but blue for as far as I could see. It hit me that although I was awestruck by the apparent limitlessness of this ocean, I could only see a tiny speck of the ocean on a globe. I know I’ll never fully understand how large the ocean is, but at least now I have some perspective on its immensity.
We saw many incredible species today. On the fore reef, we saw many large rays, including a spotted eagle ray that was easily longer than I was. We also saw some large, highly endangered elk horn coral. After lunch we snorkeled out to the back reef and saw a large barracuda and caught several invasive lionfish. I didn’t see any tunicates, but I did find nearly all the calciferous red algae species I had researched. Tubular thicket algae and Amphiroa fragilissima were quite common on the sea floor, as they were in the unprotected patch reef yesterdat. I also found crustose coralline algae covering some patches on the reef framework, and a few Galaxura Rugosa plants as well.