Week 3 and 4

I know that have not posted in almost 2 weeks, but we have been super busy here. We have learned about mangrove, seagrass, reef organisms and have been tested on all of them. This entails a lot of memorization.

On top of this, I have done several dives and have seen some pretty cool stuff. This time I was allowed to take my GoPro so I wanted to share the species I saw on my last couple of dives.

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Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
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Blue Chromis (Chromis Cyanea) and a Queen Parrot Fish (Scarus vetula)
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Caeser Grunt (Haemulon Carbonarium)

Some of the sights that we got to dive at included The Arch, The Plane, East Bay Spur, and The Spanish Chain. We have dove at these sights a couple of different times, but each time you see something different so you never get tired of it. I actually dove for class last Monday to do Lionfish (Pterois) surveys to see how many of these invasive species are in the area. We saw none while we were out there, but saw a ton of Southern Rays (Dasyatis americana), a spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari), and some extremely curious Barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda).

In these past two weeks, I experienced a lot of culture shock and it really is a part of the reason I have written in this blog. We have had an encounter with a local that really struck a chord with me. It made me realize that I am lucky to live in a country that has the laws that it does. He had a previous encounter with our center and was upset with us and unfortunately, one of our center dogs was hit by his car and had to swerve to avoid people. This was very upsetting to me, especially the fact that there are no reckless endangerment laws like the ones in the US.

Even though this had happened, I refuse to let it hinder my experience here. I also continue to encourage people to continue to visit the island and not let people like this individual, to prevent you from coming here. The locals are generally very nice and welcoming, which describes the true aura of the island.

On a more positive note, everything is going super well here. I’ve done more swim lessons, washed the dogs, and have played soccer for community engagement. One of our dives saw two humpback whales while diving at the arch, which is super rare and amazing. I’ve gone on numerous walks around this island to explore and plan to continue to.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I just got back from our first overnight camping trip. It was a lot of fun. We had a fire on East Bay Beach, pitched tents, made smores, and star gazed. The stars are like nothing I have ever seen before, they are so bright and abundant. I went to bed around 11 and while lying in the tent I just stared at the stars and listen to the water crashing on the shore. It was a really fun first campout and not as bad as I thought it was going to be.

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Our tent (I didn’t get to take a pic of it actually up)
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Everyone packing up from our night on the beach
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Our view when we woke up

Well, that is all for now and hopefully, I will post again next week.

Nicole

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