Yesterday we woke up early to the rising sun and a 6:30 breakfast. We had to push off early for deep sea research, which was about a 35 minute boat ride to get to. Deep Ocean isn’t exactly right off the shore, so we had to go through a rough and rainy boat ride to arrive to our destination. Upon our arrival, we spent two and a half hours pulling up two ropes from about 5,000 feet underwater. Although tired and feeling slightly sea sick, a few members of the crew finally reeled in about 40 isopods (picture a 2 foot underwater pill bug). It was so fascinating holding critters from 5,000 feet under the water in our hands. While on the boat, we also got to free dive the 90 foot wall and the deep, vast, blue ocean. The contrast between free diving in those two settings was unbelievable, and each one was moving in a different way. It was definitely worth waking up early for.
For Marine Ecology, yesterday was a wonderful yet semi-tragic day. We were disheartened to realize that this would be the last time we would view our little patch reefs that we spent all week studying. I had become so attached to mine I even named it (Patchy if you’re wondering.) However, as we had studied different fish species and their biology we were eager to test out our knowledge in the field. Scuba diving has always been an awesome activity for the students here and we thoroughly enjoyed our final dive. Some of us were delighted to realize that the fish ID’s, that we had struggled so much with the night before, were allowing us to correctly identify the denizens of our reefs. Waving a fond farewell to our clumps of coral and sponges we ascended with plenty of information to write our Field Notes. These are basically a way to put down what we learned from our reefs into writing that are enjoyable to read. Upon our arrival at the Boathouse, we were delighted to find that our buddies from Tourism and Development had all returned. Hugs were exchanged and we all realized how much we really missed each other. During advisory time, spirits were higher than ever since the whole campus was finally reunited (even if only for a few days.) However, today these students leave us once again to embark on their solo experience and we wish them the best of luck.

Your Caciques,

Caroline and Nico

Students examine their assigned patch reefs.