2016 Day 6: From Sunrise to Sunset

Sunrise

Sunrise over Rice Bay, San Salvador Island, The Bahamas

Professor’s note: Today’s post is by Sean Smith.  Apologies for the tardy posting – internet issues, among other things, got in the way.

Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain

Will this truck ever start?

Oh look, a crinoid

So our day began before dawn, at least for us kiddies. We woke up at 5:30 am and made the trek to Rice Bay to await the sunrise, and boy was it gorgeous and totally worth waking up early! On our walk over, we noticed lightning off in the distance, and monstrous clouds rolling in. Needless to say, this morning was the nicest weather we had today.

Golden crinoid on Snapshot Reef.

Golden crinoid on Snapshot Reef.

We were all wide awake for breakfast, an unusual occurrence for sure. As we devoured our grits and eggs, the sky slowly turned a lovely shade of dark gray. Afterwards our kind and thoughtful professors decided that we should see if the rain would pass and hunkered down in our laboratory. We went over what we would be doing in our experiment, now that all the fun is over…just kidding! Although the thought was nice, it didn’t really matter as the weather had other plans for our day, including rain, some rain, and a little more rain. We decided that there was no point in waiting any longer and ventured out to our first and only location of the day, Fernandez Bay. During the ride over we were pelted with rain like speeding bullets as Dr. Kelly struggled with the stick shift of our truck.

Our first dive site at Fernandez Bay was Snapshot Reef. A beautiful location, and my personal favorite reef so far. The topography of the reef was extremely complex, creating lots of niches for the organisms. We saw a lot of different organisms that weren’t present at other locations, including but not limited to a golden tail moray (Gymnothorax miliaris), a houndfish (Tylosurus crocodilus), ctenophores, golden crinoids (Davidaster rubiginosa) and yellowtail goatfish (Mulloidichthys martinicus). Unfortunately, we couldn’t spend all day here and had to get out to eat lunch.

The students bravely try to diagnose the truck's issues.

The students bravely try to diagnose the truck’s issues.

Once we all got out of the water and had gotten on the truck, we planned to head to the pavilion at Columbus Landing to avoid the rain. This plan was ruined quite quickly as the truck did not start. We attempted to do a little backyard mechanics, or should I say Christina jabbed a stick very hard into the starter. Long story short, this did not work due to the problem being a dead battery and we were stuck to eat our lunch in the rain. We proceeded to create a station of sandwich making underneath the truck, and eat diner style (standing room only) on the side of our truck.

Making the best of the situation.

Making the best of the situation.

The next dive location we went to was Telephone Pole Reef, luckily it was within walking distance. While we explored the beautiful seascapes, Dr. Zajac, our hero, sent word with another group back to the station to get help for our dead vehicle. At Telephone Pole Reef we had some more time to explore and saw some really cool critters. While not everyone saw everything some people did see some Caribbean reef squid (Sepioteuthis sepioidea), a shortfin pipefish (Cosmocampus elucens), a batwing coral crab (Carpilius corallinus) and one of our favorites, brittle stars (Ophiuroidea spp.)! The brittle stars made up for the lack of cover from the rain and we all forgot all of our hardships. A perfect ending to the day.

 

Anemone (Medium)

Unidentified species of anemone.

Supplementary haiku (Dr. Kelly):

Truck horror story

Rain, no-see-ums, rough going

But, oh, the fishes…

 

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