Tuesday on the Reef, in an Oceanic Blue Hole, and in the Lab

Today was a boat day, a warm and windy one. We launched around 9:00 am towards Dave’s Reef Patch to test our fish identification abilities. Although our fish identification cards were necessary for success, we learned to appreciate many new species. Among the favorites, we saw stingrays, Sergeant Majors, parrotfish, and the beautiful trumpet fish. After that snorkel, we jetted to Pigeon Cay and took a stroll around its coastline, learning about the topography from the expertise of our amazing tour guides. Afterwards, we ate a delicious lunch on the beach, under the shelter of the cabanas. Once satisfied, we loaded the boats again and took off to snorkel into an oceanic blue hole. We were surprised to find out that an oceanic blue hole was actually a sink hole in the ocean; unlike the other bottomless holes we swam in day’s prior. This beautiful hole was full of different sea creatures. Some were similar to those in Dave’s patch reef, and there were other new species to be found. For instance, one group found a fairy basslet. Back at the station, we dried off and retired to the classroom to do a Goniolith lab. Goniolithon is a calcareous red algae that is known to harbor many different invertebrates and a few vertebrate small species. We found an abundance of arthropods such as green crabs and varieties of shrimp. Along its side were many brittle stars, from the size of one’s palm to the size of one’s pinky. After dinner we learned a bit about the culture and history of Andros. Dale covered from the settlement of Christopher Columbus and other European powers to the surprising settlement of Red Bays in her talk. We also learned about the impact of tourism on this country, people, and marine life. Some of us remained in the classroom to attend an optional coral lecture designed for the college students who are also at the field station. After our long day of fun in the land of paradise, we settled into our cabins for a good night’s sleep.

Here are three video highlights:

Snorkeling on the Reef

Snorkeling in the Oceanic Blue Hole

Lab Discovery