This morning started with breakfast, which was a nice change from birdwatching. Breakfast was delicious. All the cooks we’ve had on this trip have been great.
We then started practicing using our quadrats and transect tape (PVC pipe and rope grids and measuring tape). We first used them on land to measure leaf cover (at first we were going to measure crab holes, which there are a ton of, but they were all off the path, they’re mostly used by blue land crabs).
Next, we practiced in the nearby seagrass measuring the benthos (the ground, but underwater) cover of worm sand mounds. I found a few mangrove tree crabs on the posts of the dock which aren’t mangroves obviously but are effectively pretty similar when you’re a crab.
After lunch, we went to the fossil coral graveyard. There were just mounds of fossilized corral everywhere that we tried to identify. It’s crazy that these fossilized corrals that are millions of years old are still identifiable as species. This spot is supposed to be Adrienne’s favorite, so we were all really sad she wasn’t there. Scott did try to channel Adrienne today, but I think he only got to saying benthos about 4 times instead of the 7-sometimes we predicted Adrienne would say it.
We later went out to a patch reef farther away from our island. We used the transect tap and quadrat to measure the cover of live hard corals within a protected area and then outside of it. We got to see a much of cool fish, an eel, a few squids, one of which was maybe an inch and a half long and so cute, some sea urchins, a sea cucumber, but sadly no crustaceans. I think they were probably all under the corals where I couldn’t quite see or hiding in plain sight like decorator crabs.
After all our snorkeling, one of the coast guard guys gave us some fresh coconuts that were amazing. I ground up the inside with this fancy coconut grinder after drinking all the juice. I then discovered that the hermit crabs eat coconut. They were all hanging by the coconut grinder. When I gave them coconut they would get super possessive and aggressive towards the other crabs, then put the meat gently in the mouths.
I meant to post all these blog posts today, but the internet was out this morning because of the big storm we had last night. Then this evening, the internet was out again so apparently, I’m back to extremely late blog posts. In other news, I didn’t get burned by the sun today!