Day 9: The sun will come out today
Today’s post is by Lauren Kircher:
When we first arrived on the island, we had some trouble differentiating between the sound of rain and wind through the palm trees. We have since practiced this skill often enough to become very adept at it. This morning the sound we heard was the rustling of the wind in the palms. The girls scrambled out of bed to finally get some more clothes washed while they had a chance of drying on the line.
Today was a pretty full day out in the field. We headed out to a new site, called Barker’s Point, for our last data collection for the projects. The fish didn’t seem to be biting too much at the quadrats. We are going to be combining all of the data because the herbivory portion hasn’t yielded much. We will then form our own hypotheses and use the data to examine our hypothesis and write the paper. After setting our research gear on shore, we did some recreational diving. I saw the biggest stoplight parrotfish and blue tang that I’ve seen thus far and some triggerfish. We found a spot along the road for some lunch and settled down. We clearly felt that the mail boat hadn’t made it to the island in two weeks as our lunch was missing the traditional apples, turkey, and strawberry jelly.
We took a trip to The Thumb, which includes a place commonly called Garbage Beach. This area faces the open Atlantic Ocean and tends to accumulate garbage from the ocean. Just as Dr. Kelly finished telling us that people have found bottles with messages in them on this beach, we found one! After breaking it open, we discovered a note from some “captive sailors” with
their coordinates that was dated October 29th, 2011. When Dr. Carlile plugged the coordinates into Google maps, the bottle originated somewhere in the ocean between Portugal and Morocco. We scoured the beach for our buoy to decorate and hang in the snack bar. We spent a good portion of our day on the truck as we returned our gear to the lab only to return back to the field.
We ventured to the other side of the island to Bamboo Point. This area provided the shortest swim out to the drop-off. At the drop-off the coastal shelf very abruptly decreases.
One second, you are looking down at the sand and algae that is pretty far below you and the next you are looking down at approximately 3,000m of water and all you can see is deep blue. Even from shore, there is a clear separation in the two shades of blue. The swim was approximately 300m, but we were only rewarded with some small fish. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on who you ask, we didn’t see any sharks.
At dinner, the mail boat seemed to have arrived as our food was more varied than the past few days. Tonight we will spend analyzing today’s data and studying for our test in the morning. Tomorrow we plan on getting up early to watch the sun rise on the beach and go on a recreational dive. We are all glad for the warm weather and sun today.