Day 3: only the superior go to the interior

Sorry this post is a day late – there were some internet connection issues here on the island. Now that we’re back up and running, here is yesterday’s post, by Marisa Bottari:

This morning our adventures began with an interior hike of the island. Last night during lab we went over the various types of

our group in front of Osprey Lake, in the interior of San Sal

our group in front of Osprey Lake, in the interior of San Sal

plants to avoid on the trail and to watch out for wasps, which is always reassuring. So after breakfast we set out with Dr. Kelly and his machete leading the group. The common phrases of the trail included “Poison Oak on the right”, “Cacti bottom left”, and “watch the sink holes”. As we maneuvered avoiding these various plants and holes, we made our way along the trail to see three hypersaline ponds and the “moon rock” surrounding them, as well as many red, black and white mangroves. We got the chance to look at the mangroves prop-roots and pneumatophores. We continued to chug along exhausted from the heat and constantly having to balance on the rocks. We made it back to the research center after about two hours, but sadly we didn’t make it off the trail without any causalities. Unfortunately Dr. Carlile suffered a sting from one of the territorial wasps. In the end the trail provided us with a better look at the make-up of the island. After the trail we came back to the rooms to shower and get a nap in before lunch.

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Gorgonians galore! Coral at Rocky Point

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a parrot fish among coral and algae at Rocky Point

After lunch we headed out to Rocky Point for some snorkeling. Getting in the water was such a relief from the heat of the hike this morning. Here we explored three different reef patches with depths up to 10ft deep. While snorkeling the group saw many different corals such as fire coral, brain corals, and lots of sea fans. We came across many common reef organisms and algae. Some of the more notable ones being a meadow of Sargassum, a live conch, a Queen Angel fish, a Stoplight parrot fish, a Tiger Grouper, and a Southern stingray. We were all in awe of the diversity and colors of these larger reefs. After snorkeling for two hours we headed back to the truck to get back to the research center for dinner. After dinner we went over to the lab to work on organism identification and also to work on our first taxalogue. Finally after lab it was time to do something all of us were probably way too excited for, time to sleep.

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