May 23, 2019
I am currently writing this blog with a small but distinct yellow dot in my vision. This is because I’ve been staring at the light in our cabin for a while, out of necessity of course.
About thirty minutes ago, Kelsey pointed at our light and asked what all the little bugs around it were (there were a lot). We suspected they were sandflies, so Anna, the bravest of us, stepped on a table and used Kaela’s notebook to swat as many as she could. It was confirmed that they were sandflies when Kaela’s notebook revealed about a hundred small smears of blood. I followed Anna’s swatting with lots of clapping around the light to attempt to get the sandflies that weren’t collected on the ceiling. What a day.
Earlier today, we did an experiment involving seagrass and algae competition. It soon became clear that any reef experiment requires strong communication between researchers, so Liz (my buddy) and I developed an underwater language in which the letter “a” in sign language meant algae and using both hands to form the written letter “s” meant seagrass.
No hydrozoa, schyphozoa, cubozoa, or ctenophores spotted today because much of our time in the water was spent collecting data in the seagrass. Hopefully, I’ll spot some tomorrow.
Today left Belize City after a great lunch and sailed for Glover’s Reef. The Caribbean was a mosaic of blues created by the different geological and biological factors. The emerald sea near the shore had patches of dark blue. Distant greens above the horizon were mangrove forests as we approached. As we changed direction and entered the open sea, the juxtaposition of dark blue and emerald was dominated by the deep indigo of rough waves. After sailing for almost 3 hours we finally reached the emerald of the Glover’s Reef.
Never having been to an atoll, the Glover’s Reef gave me a great impression. An emerald paradise of coral reef was guarded like a fortress against the deep blue. When we finally dived into the water, hundreds of small fish greeted us above the sea grass. Then we finally reached the coral reef, it was as if I am looking at a bonsai rainforest. Maybe I haven’t look closely enough because of the confusion of being underwater, I could not find brown algae. I thought these algae would be obviously large enough or dominate the area or something. But apparently, other kinds organisms like corals and other algae and even plants seemed to be in constant competition. Hopefully I can find it tomorrow when I am more used to the environment.
But the sandflies tho. I though ticks were bad. But these things are sneaky with straight punch into my skin leaving a spots that won’t go way. At least killing ticks have some pleasure in it when the blood in it pops. Sandflies, smaller, sneakier, but more painful. My next 6 days will be a war against these bugs