Hi everyone! The sunrise was absolutely beautiful today. The 4:45 am wake-up was definitely worth seeing the sun peeking through the clouds on one side of the island and a perfect rainbow in the sky on the other. I’m going to try and watch it again tomorrow before we leave. 🙂
This morning was spent in the back reef collecting as much biodiversity as we would find and analyzing the health of some corals that had been measured last year to see if the number of live colonies had increased. While we were at the back reef, some exciting things happened. I identified both some live red heart urchins (Meoma ventricosa) and their empty tests in the sand among the seagrass as well as a few more donkey dung sea cucumbers (Holothuria mexicana). I also saw a chocolate chip sea cucumber (Isostichopus badionotus); all of these sea cucumbers were also in patches of sand between coral colonies. The other news I have to share from the patch reef was my sting from an anemone, which burned like fire for a while but now has reduced to a dull throb (tip from the locals: soak stings in vinegar).
After lunch, we dissected some lionfish to examine their stomach contents and watched one of our marine safety officers, Herbie, make ceviche out of it. We then took a boat to a tourist island with an adorable tiki hut on the water. All in all, it was a really great day.