Can’t believe it’s our last day in Jamaica. It’s gone by so fast, especially these last few days squeezing in as much water time and dives as possible. Yesterday morning Bri, Tony and I went out on our first open water dive as non-DITs! Bri and I saw a sea turtle and unfortunately her GoPro broke at 30 ft down or we’d have photo evidence. But the memory for us is awesome.
Yesterday and today was mostly spent brushing up on our scientific names (Stegastes adustus anyone?) and trying to round out our collections with as much algae as possible. Rachel and I had to separate our voracious urchins from our algae sea table as they were rapidly devouring our collection. Jess, Alex and Juali managed to snag some brittle stars without them losing a limb and Bri and Tony were brave enough to explore the reef crest- the surge was pretty strong but they made it back with some stuff in their collection bags.
Precious is bringing out the Jamaican specialties for our last couple of days- we’ve had bammy, ackee with salt fish, and breadfruit so far, and today is patty day with the famously delicious cocoa buns. The food has been so good, but I know Colin and I at least are craving a big ol’ slice of pizza back in NY.
This morning the water was calm enough to head over to Rio Bueno for a dive. It was absolutely amazing. At around 20 feet the reef face drops off like a sheer cliff, and we went back and forth at 60 ft and 45 ft exploring the face. Dr Warren speared 3 lionfish (the only way to beat ‘em is to eat ‘em) and Bri thought she may have seen a caribbean reef shark down near the bottom. Mostly we got to float past huge sea fans, brightly colored fish and corals, and schools of gorgeous blue chromis that waterfall-dove over the reef face past us. That dive is definitely a highlight of the trip for me.
Tonight we have our final exam and are cleaning up the wet lab and packing for an early start tomorrow. The best parts of the trip for me were getting scuba certified and seeing 3 octopuses (no, people, it is not “octopi”). They’re one of my favorite animals and let me tell you I’m still kicking myself over missing that they were in the cephalopod family on our first exam- I blame the mosquito assault on my legs that was happening as I attempted to finish as quickly as possible. For awesome octopus facts and to learn more see The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery.
I think that’s all the octopus plugging I have for today. Thanks for reading mom!