Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Sky Was What Color?

Its been a while since all the hair on my arms has been blond. The UV here is so intense sometimes, and I'm developing a gnarly watershoe tan on my ankles. Other than that, I don't wear socks, or much of any footwear unless I'm going into town. I've started to notice that none of us have an un-tanned standard. UV does penetrate swimsuits, even if it is very, very slowly. We're all tanning at the same pace and we're not going to know what neon white looks like anymore when we get home until we get ostracized from our own families for being a different skin color. I have only the skin underneath my ring that shows my real winter colors, since my regular swimsuit tan is a decent shade of golden brown already.

Wednesdays are our dive days, so we suited up just after our morning meeting and prepared to go out to sea. However, (Nick, you'll grimace...), one of the boats is running on a very slow backup motor and it was difficult to get out to the spot we wanted, so we ended up at the Spanish Chain. We normally run Yamaha 90 horsepower's here on our ocean boats, but our backup-backup motor is a Mercury 8. Go figure. Don't you appreciate your 25 Nick? :D  Visibility at the Spanish Chain was horrible, but we saw a few cool things. Fish mainly, but there were two absolutely gigantic Southern Stingrays (Dasyatis americanus) just sitting in the sand. I hovered over them with my arms spread out, and their wingspan was larger than mine. Most likely about 8 feet wide and 6 feet long. As with most dives, it felt really short though, and we had to come back up fairly quickly. We scrambled out of our gear and into fresh clothes so we could be on time for our community outreach. All the students volunteer at the primary and high school on Wednesdays, so Stephen, Mikenna and I went to the primary school to assist the reading class. We helped a few cute kids with their ABC's and then made flashcards and curtains for the teacher during the remainder of the class. I was also assigned to help teach a music class with 2 other students, and coach cross-country/track after school, but the primary school let out early due to an unexpected teacher's inservice.

The rest of the afternoon was ours to study and dilly dally, so I went for a snorkel with Serena and saw some really cool fish, despite the horrible visibility. I studied some more, read my homework for the night, and after dinner went for a long walk with Mike. Too much free time around the center makes it really hard to stay in one place, and I often get antsy and just need to get out. The skies here are every color in at 64 crayon Crayola box, I swear. During the day, its all the blues and creams and whites that you can imagine. At night, the oranges, reds, and purples come out of the box, and during storms its green and grey. Tonight however, the sky was an inky brown, reflecting a good amount of the full moon and becoming a dark chocolate color. I've never seen a brown-black sky, and it was beautiful. There's nothing ugly about this island, except maybe the litter around here, but we are doing projects to try to fix that too. More studying 85 scientific names and making flash cards, and its time for bed.

Scrawled Cowfish (well, the back half of one, it was quite elusive!)

Mahogany Snapper (Lutjanus mahogani)

Can you find the scorpionfish?

P.S. I suppose there is one good thing to knowing the scientific names of fish. And that is the power to type in "Halichoeres bivitattus" into Google Image Search instead of "Slippery dick". >.<


  1. Kat, I love reading your blog. You write so well! I'm inspired to put more effort into my own blog which, sadly, is too often ignored.

  2. I didn't know stingrays came that big! How cool...good luck on the flash cards :)