Day 2: a full day of snorkeling

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a view of the old Navy pier

Today’s post is brought to you by Gaitlyn Malone…

After an early breakfast, we met in the lab at 9:00 am to discuss our plan for the day. Not long after we were loading on to the back of a pickup truck to head to our first snorkel site. Our first stop was a place called North Point, which was about a 5-minute drive down the road from Gerace. As we arrived, we were greeted by the beautiful blue ocean water and the cool island breeze. Grabbing our snorkel buddy, we quickly made our way into the water. North Point is home to an old Navy pier that has since collapsed; which we chose to explore first. With in and on the remains of the pier, we saw vibrant parrotfish, many tangs, and various coral  species. We then ventured on parallel to the beach to explore more of the adjacent reef patches. During our exploration, some of us saw two spotted moray eels and a small green sea turtle!

a spotted moray eel hiding in the rocks

a spotted moray eel hiding in the rocks

After a little over an hour of snorkeling, we had some lunch in the shade and made friends with a local dog (who in the end just wanted our food rather than friendship) before heading on our way to the next location.

After almost losing Dr. Zajac’s hat, we made it to Fossil Reef. Here we viewed 125,000-year-old fossil remnants of a coral reef that stood about 6 feet in height. Within the reef, we saw fossilized elk-horn coral, brain coral, and other various species. We were all in awe of the fact that sea level had once been so high.

Our last stop of the day was Dump Beach where we spent about an hour and a half snorkeling in the cool ocean water. Although most of us were hoping to see a shark, we were excited to find a sea cucumber, vibrant sea fans, and many reef fish. After taking hundreds of pictures and viewing unforgettable scenes we made our way back to Gerace for a much-needed dinner and ended our night in discussion.

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