Location: Awesome coral reefs
We woke up to the delicious smell of taters. Alex makes some darn good taters. Then we got our dive gear ready for our epic reef check day! The boat was supposed to come at 9, then fifteen minutes went by, then thirty, then sixty…..and at 10:30 the boat had arrived. It was nice having that hour and a half-especially since a lot of us have yet to start our 10 page research papers… We sped over the waves to a new reef sitting below a sheer cliff. The first group put on their dive gear and plopped into the water (which is particularly inviting when you are sweating in your wetsuit) to begin their fish count along the tape measure. The rest of us jumped in to explore the reef free diving and snorkeling before we began our counts. At first all I saw was the blue water above, below, surrounding me. A reef drop emerges from the blue as I continue to swim just as a star grows from the black as the night deepens. Taking a deep breath I dive to the giant yellow brain coral I see below (one of the healthy coral on the reef). A purple and yellow feather duster is swaying in the current. Intrigued by its beauty I swim towards it and wave my fingers before its dancing stems. Suddenly the massive duster disappears as it pops back into it little tube. When I re-surface it is time to get my dive gear on and swim count the invertebrates along the tape measure. Hopefully today goes better than yesterday….our first reef check can be summed up by the phrase “utter confusion.” So with our tanks and BCDs strapped on Katherine (otherwise known as meat ball) and I descended and entered the underwater world. Instead of swimming above the fish we were now swimming amidst the schools of fish. We were so close to the coral we could see the polyps and designs covering these colorful animals. Slowly we began swimming down the tape measure counting the sea urchins and sea fans covering the reef. Along our swim a trumpet fish was relaxing a coral gateway (see picture!). At the very end of our dive we spotted a bright red bearded fireworm crawling along the inside of a dark purple sponge. We then headed back to the Ocean Star only to get our dive gear ready again for another dive! The next reef we went to was directly beneath a giant peak. The waves hit the boulders that made up the shore. Again the fish group fell off the side of the boat while everyone else swam around this new rocky site. Katherine and I then began counting the hiding sea urchins when suddenly we saw five giant blue lobsters peaking out beneath one of the rocks. After this epic dive marathon, we sat down to watch an epic green flash. There we were staring at a crystal clear horizon when suddenly a cloud, one single cloud, appeared out of no where and decided to sit right in front of the sun. Then the cloud turned green! No it actually covered up the sunset. For dinner we had some delicious taters fresh off the frying pan!