Today we dove in both the morning and afternoon, which made for a very tiring, very seasick day for most of our class. The morning was to sample a second set of MPA/Not-MPA patch reefs for our project, and the afternoon was to explore the forereef while we had calm weather (the forereef is where there’s the most wave action so we could only go in calm conditions)
Sampling these reefs was a little more difficult because they were deeper than yesterdays. I felt kind of like a shark because I had to swim down and count a bit, then I’d float up, circle, and come back down and count some more (and I must have circled ten times per quadrat…we did ten per site). Luckily our communication was better today, because the water was deep enough that it would’ve been really hard to try and tread water and communicate at the surface. I didn’t see any new molluscs while out sampling these sites, but I did see a Spiny Lobster that I thought was cool.
The forereef in the afternoon was super cool and an epic battle between breathing and buoyancy (hold my breath so I can dive down for longer or exhale as a I go down so I can go deeper). The forereef is the edge of the reef before the drop-off into deeper waters, and it’s before the reef crest so it gets all the wave energy (which it channels into spur and groove formations). The groove channels were pretty deep (for me at least), but I was able to swim through some schools of small fishes congregating on top of the spur formations. They were beautiful up close. And! Just before we were leaving I spotted two Caribbean Reef Squids! They were in the sand outside the spur and grooves, so I couldn’t get down deep enough to really get close, but Dr. Shore swam down and got a video of them. She got so close that she spooked one, and in her video you can see it change colors then dart away.
I’m not sure what we’re doing tomorrow, but for everyone’s sake I hope the weather stays nice and calm.