Today’s blog will be relatively brief as I have spent the whole day unconscious (sleeping—sleeping on the boat, sleeping in the van, sleeping on the airplane). We woke up at 5:00am just in time to watch the sun rise over the ocean. It was a beautiful way to end our time at Glover’s Reef—then we jetted off the island in a boat to escape the bugs once and for all.
The boat ride was relatively smoother returning to the mainland as we were not fighting the current, but there were still some rough patches that woke me up from my nap. Dolphins were spotted at some point?, but I missed them unfortunately. After a short van ride, we were at the Belize Airport, ready to head home. I bought some Belizean hot sauce for my friends and family. On the plane ride home, Aquaman was playing, and I’m pretty sure that (in that one scene where kid Aquaman is at the aquarium and controls a shark) there’s a Nassau grouper in the background—so exciting to see my taxon! Finally, in Houston, we parted ways with part of the group, and, at Rice, we said our goodbyes to the whole group. I’m staying at my cousin’s place for one more night, then heading home to Memphis tomorrow. I hope everyone has safe travels wherever you may be going! Thank you for a fantastic trip!
My greatest accomplishment of today was conquering my inability to swim to depths. This day was undoubtedly the most physically demanding we have had so far. In the morning, we took the boat to the fore reef, outside of the bounds of the atoll. This meant that the water was much choppier than previously. I was worried that I would get sea sick, as the last time I was on a boat, I definitely did. In the end, I was one of the few that didn’t end up feeling bad at all.
The fore reef was amazing. It was in a completely different scale from everything that we have previously seen. According to Adrienne, the deepest part that we went to was about fifty feet. Of course we didn’t free dive that deep but we did in some of the medium depths. I was really excited about how much I improved from the first time that we entered the water. By the end of the day, I could make it down the bottom in places that were much deeper than I ever expected from myself.
I continued to see soft corals all over the reef. At this point, I don’t that the composition of this particular community dramatically changes over the different areas that we have been too. I am consistently seeing this community dominated by Gorgonia ventalina in every location.
While I don’t know what we are doing tomorrow, I think that it involves marine debris. This will be a good transition into more conservation-focused issues. I also can’t believe how few days we have left. As per usual I feel simultaneously prepared and unprepared. We shall see how the last couple of days go. I’m sure they will be just as amazing.