Blog Post #13
Day 13: It’s a Dinglehopper!
Written 10:03 pm on May 27th
Today started with a HUGE thunderstorm. The ominous clouds loomed overhead while I sat in the hammocks, then the wind picked up, fiercely blowing my hammock and rocking me. As soon as I moved inside, the storm down-poured! Since it’s not the rainy season, and we are on an island, this was not an anticipated weather pattern.
Since it was raining, we did our lectures in the morning—I gave my presentation on sponges, and everyone appreciated my SpongeBob fun facts 🙂
When we finished the lectures, we set out to collect some data (and trash) from two different sides of the island. Marine debris is a HUGE problem, no matter how remote a place is, you can find trash in some form, such as whole pieces, parts, or microplastics. We wanted to compare the trash levels on the windward and leeward side of the island. We found that the windward size had larger pieces that were less transportable (like floating/moving with the current), and the leeward side has more general pieces in smaller size.
I did find a fork, and it made me think of Scuttle. I also found an entire bottle of Sprite unopened in the mangrove bed. Pictures weren’t taken because my hands were either busy holding trash or swatting as mosquitos.
In the afternoon, we headed out to do adventure snorkeling, a chance to explore the reefs around us and see our taxon on a different side of the atoll. We visited a patch reef that was 10-25 ft deep, and there we found the biggest nurse shark I (and the MPOs) had ever seen!! We decided it was a she (no idea why), and she had a bottle with a fishing line stuck to her fin. We tried to figure out ways we could free her, but there wasn’t any way we could do it without hurting both her and us since we didn’t have scissors.
The best experience of Glover’s Reef was getting to snorkel over the reef crest. Normally no one can swim the reef crest because the waves are big, powerful, and overwhelming. But today, the ocean was so calm we could explore. Seriously, this is almost unheard of in a marine ecosystem. The coral were gorgeous, fish were huge, there were fry schools, a blacktip reef shark, filefish, trumpetfish, triggerfish, cowfish, and so much more. I noted that there were many encrusting sponges and a few vase sponges, and my new favorite sponge, the stove pipe sponge.
Life under the sea is better than anything they got up there.