Day 6: swim to the abyss

Today’s blog post is by Stephen Fleitas:

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a large Diadema sp., in the shallows of Bamboo Point

Another day, another adventure on beautiful San Salvador. Today, after previous days of hard work observing coral reefs, sea grass meadows, and mangroves, we decided to take it a little slow (Professor’s note: this was their one half-day off!). We started our day with a delicious breakfast and went on our separate ways. Some of us decided to lay out in the sun on the gorgeous beach across the street. Others decided to utilize the half day to catch up on some much needed rest.

Promptly after lunch we met up at the usual spot, by the trucks, with our snorkel gear in tow. We then drove to Bamboo Point, a rocky beach covered in algae and sea urchins (Diadema sp.), yikes! We carefully put on our gear and swam out to meet the abyss. As we swam through the crystal clear, aquamarine colored waters a transition could be noticed. Light blue water turned into a deep, dark blue and where the sandy bottom could once be seen there was nothing. This transition marked the point of the drop off which is 4 kilometers deep! After taking a number of ‘selfies’ we swam back to shore.

students above the abyss..."only" about 4000m of water below!

students above the abyss…”only” about 4000m of water below!

On the way to our next site, we stopped at a local convenient store at which our awesome professors bought us some frozen treats. After finishing our ice cream we made way to Barker’s Point. Unfortunately the wind and waves had other plans and we could not explore the underwater area. We then headed back to Gerace to try out some seining. Again, unfortunately, the ocean had other plans and the only thing caught were dead sea grass blades (Thalassia testudinum).

Enjoying a much deserved treat in the back of the truck

Enjoying a much deserved treat in the back of the truck

We washed up and ate dinner. Some of us were particularly happy about the chocolate cake dessert. A woman set up a make-shift souvenir shop under the pavilion by the dining hall. Some of us decided to pick up a few gifts for friends and family back home, after dinner. And again we met at our usual afternoon spot, the lab, where we practiced as well as honed in our taxonomy skills.

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