2016 Day 4: Those Who Hike the Interior Are Superior

Hike Group san sal 2016

Intrepid field biologists visit one of the many marine ponds in the interior of the island.

Professor’s note: The students have taken over haiku writing as a collaborative project.  The first line is the name of a cave on the island that is extremely challenging to access, even for people of slight stature.  Salicornia is an edible succulent plant found in saline habitats. Today’s blog is courtesy of Christina Metzler. 

Midget horror hole

We ate Salicornia

The sand was so soft

Osprey pond (Medium)

Looking out over Osprey Pond and the inland scrub forests of San Salvador.

Today we woke up to an absolutely perfect day for our hike through the interior with Dr. Davis. Back at home, there is a very small chance that we would have been so excited to be out in the field on a breezy, overcast day, but with the blazing sun that is normally present in this area, it was ideal. Our trek started off with a pit stop at the iguana exhibit where we observed some strange nodding behavior. With the experience of many marine lakes and a brief feral cow sighting, there was never a dull moment. While the adventure resulted in many sweaty people, some slight stumbles, and a couple of close calls with some poisonous plants, the views and the knowledge gathered made it all worth it. We arrived back at the Gerace Centre in time to change for our afternoon snorkel before a great lunch of grilled cheese, soup, and cookies. Once everyone’s energy stores were replenished, we then proceeded to pick up our gear with the unfortunate passing of Dr. Carlile’s beloved snorkel. With a new one having been finagled by myself and Dr. Kelly, we loaded up the truck to head around the corner to Rice Bay.

picture collage (Medium)

Clockwise: Mockingbird singing. Yellow flower (sorry… we’re MARINE biologists). The elusive lemon shark (and friends).

At the beach, there was only one word to describe the sand: heaven. We all agreed that if there was ever a bed made out of it, we would all gladly purchase one. After the heated hike in the morning, the walk into the aquamarine water was refreshing and welcomed. At the reef patch, there were sights galore; fields of algae, towers of coral, and the hustle and bustle of reef fish. We even had a surprise visit from a lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris) that many people were upset they weren’t able to glimpse. With our algae bags full and hundreds of fabulous pictures, we left the cool water rather reluctantly.

With the bodily mishaps starting yesterday with some cuts from slippery rocks to Dr. Zajac getting caught up in the haulback plants, we were ready to settle in for some more identification sessions, a mini lecture, and copious amounts of anti-itch cream in the comfort of our air conditioned lab. A beautiful pink sunset was the cherry on top of another wonderful day in paradise.

Bonus haikus, thanks to Dr. R. Laurence Davis of UNH, who is also visiting the island right now, and has kindly shared his extensive knowledge of the interior:

San Sal Sunset (Medium)

The sun sets on another day on San Sal…

To interior

We are superior – if

Only for a day


Over the pond loop

Pupfish, algae, and moon rock

San Sal mysteries



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