Wednesday, May 16, 2007

An island night

We have all come to reach the beginning stages of tired

--Eric sleeping in the RIMS classroom

So Tuesday night’s snorkel off of the side of Baliey’s Key was a very interesting experience. We witnessed many of the nocturnal fish and some very different creatures than we are accustomed to during the day. We also however witness jellyfish, turtle grass and little water gnats (baby fish or something like that) that were attacking our masks and lights. An interesting experience overall. It was enough to convince the divers to try the night dive this evening.

Wednesday morning was our trip to the mangroves on an island called Man-o-War key. In the roots we saw everything from a baby barracuda to a box jellyfish that scared even our RIMS leader Jennifer. For the rest of the morning we got to do some collecting and identifying outside of the marine reserve. We took nets through the back reef area and collected all different creatures that we then brought back to the boat and identified.

The afternoon started by identifying the many different phylum that live in the algae of the back reef. Jennifer had collected a large piece of algae during the morning, and we observed approximately 10 different phyla and many different life cycle stages all over the algae. The rest of the afternoon was a walk off the back porch of the cabana to investigate the snails and creatures of the rocky shore, or area of exposed dead reef.

-- The table where we were investigating and identifying many of the species

-- The crew wandering and searching for snails

The evening was one of the best we have had so far. It was the night of the picnic and party over on the Key. There was a lot of great food and friends. We have begun to make friends with the group of college students here from Florida. They are in a course similar to ours. After the food came a hermit crab race that our own Pat won. Alex won as the limbo king, and Eric and Lauren were champs on the dance floor. The rest of the evening included regional dancing and some very talented people whom danced with fire.

--Traditional Honduran dancing

--Fire Dancer with all the flames

The students spent the rest of the evening ‘dancing the night away’ to the Caribbean band and finally we all crashed for a little R & R on the cabana in the moonlight.