I write this post as I sit on the porch of a wooden building at Glovers Reef Research Station. I am literally sitting on a speck of land made from coral skeletons, watching the lightning flashing over the sea in the distance. The entire sky lights up in streaks of blue and orange each time it flashes. I’ve been in Belize for over a week now but I still can’t believe it’s real.
Today was a long day of traveling. We left the TEC by 7:30 am for Belize City. From there, we took a small motorboat to Middle Caye, which is one of the islands that form Glover’s Reef Atoll. The ride was 2 hours of refreshing sea breeze, friendly blue waters and blistering sun. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to get a new shade of foundation when I get back.
The color of the ocean fluctuated as we passed different areas. It started out as the gray sludge color of the loading dock, rapidly transitioned to bright cerulean, and then a little later to a deep blue. When we passed into the lagoon of Glovers Reef Atoll. the water was suddenly perfectly clear turquoise. I can’t even explain the color – you’d have to be here to understand how otherworldly it is. The bottom was clearly visible from the boat, and we spotted stingrays and shoals of large fish drifting idly by.
I took this photo as we were pulling up to the island. It’s not color corrected at all!! I find it incredible that places like this still exist in this world, even after all that humans have done to our planet.
After lunch and a brief tour of the island, we suited up for our first aquatic excursion. Slipping into the inviting water felt so natural (but tasted very salty. Yuck). We spent some time getting used to our snorkeling gear in the shallow water by the dock before swimming out to see our first coral reefs.
We saw a lot of patch reefs today, meaning small islands of reef life in a field of sea grass. They were like microcosms of a larger coral environment. Brightly colored fish darted between the corals, and one shy lobster nestled between some rocks. We even found a baby nurse shark resting in the sea grass nearby! I was on the hunt for my ocean taxonomic group, Echinoderms, but was unsuccessful. I am told, however, that I’ll definitely be able to see them – we’re going to do a project about sea urchins later this week!
It’s been a long, exhausting day, made even slightly longer and more exhausting by the fact that I had to give two presentations tonight. But now I’m free! I’m officially done with presentations! Now I get to enjoy the crystalline waters of Glovers Reef without the presentations hanging over me.
I know it hasn’t been my most eloquent of blog posts – but forgive me, I’m running on 3 hours of sleep (ahhHh!!) I’m off to hit the hay, and I’l be back with updates tomorrow!