Today was a great day. After our breakfast of French toast and turkey bacon, we headed off to the boats. We took a short boat ride to
(I think that is the name of the place) to do some snorkeling and scuba diving. I was anticipating getting some good photos and maybe some specimens for our identification projects. I was even more excited about this being my first dive now that I was finally certified. Once suited up and in the water, I deflated my BC and sank down 20 feet or so. There, I met up with Collin, Brian, Brooke, Gobler, and Peterson at the anchor of the boat. Once all together, we set out for the wall at the edge of the reef, which shot vertically downward infinitely into the abyssal blue. We level off between 50 and 60 feet for a couple of minutes. There were sponges, brain coral, fleshy coral, plate coral, and all sorts of fish. It was unbelievable. I couldn’t forget the huge uncountable school of a fish that were blue (we still haven’t figured out the name). They swam over the wall and down the wall which resembled to me a blue river flowing over a waterfall. I was taking pictures every second making sure that I would not forget any of the images on my first dive. We then swam back over the wall and leveled off around 20-30 feet. That is where I saw the yellow tail damsel and carpet anemone, which is in the picture I posted. When the yellow tail damsel is a juvenile it is extremely dark with glowing neon blue dots on a jet black background, which has been the most outstanding fish I have seen out here, until what I saw later that day. We’ll get back to that though. So anyway back to the dive; most of the area was encrusted with algae and much of the coral was dead or encrusted with algae of all sorts. A bit disappointing I thought. But there were some interesting fish around. I started to head back to the boat with 1000 psi still in my tank while continuing to snap shots of different fish and fan corals that waved with the current.
Still at Rios Grande, Karen and Tim spotted a sting ray. I quickly swam over to investigate and saw how huge it was. It must have had a 4-5 foot wing span. After that we headed back to marine center.
Lecture at 11:30 with Gobler. We learned about how human impact has affected the reef in a great number of ways. The over fishing and large amounts of nutrients put in by human activity explains why I saw a lot of algae before on my dive and no big fish.
After the lecture we had lunch and then Chris, Brian, and I went to the lab to begin identifying the organisms in our pictures. After about an hour and half, Brian and I met up with
, one of our dive instructors. We decided to do some fishing for our specimens the old fashion way. We used a plastic bottle, fishing line, and a hook. We caught some silver sides and hooked them on as bait. We first caught a snapper, and then we were trying for some needle fish in the area. Here is that impressive fish I was telling you about. As we were doing this, a long comes a barracuda that was easily 4½ ft long. It was unbelievable to see. Of course we tried catching him but he paid no mind to our tiny bait.
Once we caught our needle fish and placed him in the specimens tank we headed off too our second lecture which was on invertebrates given by Peterson. Then we all dug into a delicious home cooked dinner of rice, vegetables, chicken, and coconut bread. Hope your all doing well back in the