Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lionfish and Tiger Sharks and Barracuda, OH MY!!

Well, not quite a tiger shark, but a nurse shark!

Another beautiful scene to wake up to this morning as I walked out my wooden door: gorgeous shades of blue seeping out across the sea from the sun's reflection's epicenter. Classes were almost unbearable for the beauty of what awaited us outside at every break we got. However, my three classes (Marine Ecology, Resource Management, and Environmental Policy and Socio-Economic Value) were exciting to receive their syllabi. Weekly academic dives and snorkels are in store for us, as well as interview field trips to the local community and to other islands as well. Lunch dragged by as we all waited for our first real snorkel.

Now the fun part. Half of the students including myself went out for our first snorkel to Admiral's Aquarium, a shallow reef halfway between our island and Dove Cay. Anticipation built increasingly as we boated out to the reef where we could see the most brilliant blue water just waiting to be explored. The boat moored and off we went to the unknown. The reef was filled with brilliant colors: purple, yellow, orange and forest green corals, anemones that looked like it was holding hands with itself, bright colorful fish. We came across a nurse shark hiding in a hole about a quarter of the way into the snorkel. It's brown body was jutting out halfway into the open ocean. Halfway in, we discovered several barracudas just watching us silently. The reef was abound with purple and yellow fish, bright blue fish, parrotfish, blue tangs, and flat black fish. Schools of yellow fish would let us swim with them, and diving down to peer into holes was spectacular. Our dive guide said, "ok, do you have any questions?" YES! I DONT KNOW WHAT ANYTHING IS! TELL ME TELL ME TELLLLLMEEEEEE!!!! But a lionfish presented itself, at least one organism that I was familiar with. The seafloor was littered with live conch shells, both moving and just covered in sand. Many parts of the sea floor were rocky until I realized they weren't rocky, but the spiky tips of Queen Conchs. Small coral sat alone in the sand, partially covered, looking like speakers of the Caribbean. I can't wait to start diving to deeper depths and see more, go on recreational dives to collect shells and take pictures and I definitely cannot wait for tomorrow, another breath taking day in the wonderful world that is now my school, my home, my bath, and my lounge.


  1. Oh my goodness, that sounds so fabulous! I remember my trip to Grand Cayman, and how familiar your descriptions are. Brings it all back. How FUN to be there!!!

  2. We had a lighting storm in T&C when we were there too! It was amazing! And the water and sand are just pristine, aren't they? It really is a postcard! I'm so glad to hear about this trip so far! Nurse sharks and barracuda and conch... it's bringing me back to my honeymoon (sigh with a smile). Try conch salad= yum!