! Bang! Bomb! The day started off early for most of the students today.  Around 3 o’clock in the morning Justin, Chris, and I were awoken to the sound of a tropical storm.  It sounded like the tin roof in our room was going to collapse onto us, but for once we had some relief from the heat.  We went back to sleep hoping for another beautiful day that we are used to.

When we awoke, the rain had stopped, but it was still windy and cloudy.  We glanced out at the ocean from our balcony to see waves 4 feet high breaking at the ridge of the bay.

We went to breakfast not long after, we had pancakes and hotdogs, yum.

Our normal scuba diving/snorkeling trip was canceled today do to the weather.  So we had lecture with Gobler instead.  But the weather didn’t stop a few of us “hardcore” divers.  Brooke, Justin, Colin, Peterson, Anthony and I decided to go anyway.  We went on a short ride to a new dive site not too far away.  The water was not as clear as the previous dives due to the surf, but it was still a lot of fun.  We dove to around 50+ feet and worked our way up from there.  Some things we saw were a giant lobster, some angel fish, corals, and some sponges that sting (I found that out the hard way).  Justin and I also caught an arrow crab and a small pipefish which we brought back to the marine lab.

After lunch most of the students worked on a slide show that we are presenting to the class tomorrow after dinner.  While we were working a lizard found its way into the research building.  Of course I had to catch it, but this lizard had one up on me.  He found his way from my arm up my shirt and I needed some assistance from some of my fellow students to get him out.  We also welcomed the dean of the marine science department, David Conover to spend a few days with us at the Discovery Bay Marine Lab.  We had lecture with Peterson later that day and I think a few us learned more about sea grass then we ever wanted to know.  For dinner we had fried fish, mashed potatoes, ham, and cake.

I hope tomorrow will be little nicer, but we still have a lot of work to do before our presentations are done.

Brian Ludwig

First Dive

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

Rio Grande

(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


Justin Grimm-Greenblatt



“Anudda day pon de bay”

Another beautiful morning in Discovery Bay started off with a few dedicated snorkelers going out at 7am. Collection of specimens and underwater photography helped to capture the transition of night species to the ones we usually see during th day. After a great breakfast of eggs and toast, we head off to Pear Tree, a dive/snorkel site along the way to where we went yesterday. The Panulirus and Seahorse took us there safely and quickly. The snorkel site started off by where we anchored near a great display of spurs and grooves that cause what basically looks like a wide strip of sand, and then a wide strip of coral cover, and then sand..and so on, carved out by the constant wave action close to shore. In the shallower water we encountered many colorful fish algae and many corals. In deeper waters the divers even reported a barracuda and sea turtle sighting. Our very own Dr.Gobler caught a fantastic video (with music he provided accapela upon viewing in class today) of a spotted eagle ray. After our boat trip we dried off and headed to lecture about algae (we all love algae), and enjoyed a spaghetti lunch. From about 1.30 to 5 we had free time to snorkel and prepare our ID lists for Sunday, including specimen photos, and if possible, a live sample to put in our wet lab. Lecture on predation and an introduction to reef invertebrates got us all worked up for our BBQ dinner. We combined with students from Wisconsinin this ‘farewell’ event (they leave tomorrow), with a mento band playing traditional island music. We sung along with Buffalo Soldier, and TallyMan. The dinner was two whole tables of BBQ meat, rice, veggies, and three types of cakes. SBU students joined in a game of limbo while the band was playing, and took some memorable group photos. The night’s activities left us all in an ‘irie’ mood. Peace mon, until next time!

Jan. 4th

We started the day today with another healthy and delicious meal made by are beloved cooks, and then headed out on the water to make the first dive of the day. Chris G, Brad P and I went on a lovely dive own to about 30 feet at a location that we had not visited yet. I forgot the name but it was a nice 25 minute boat ride down the coast. I was happy to see a bit more life at the location then I had seen the day before right off of the marine lab. The rest of the group went on a snorkel in the surrounding waters where they took more pictures for there ID list. On the dive I was lucky enough to have a troop of six sergeant majors follow me for the whole dive about six inches from my face, and also had the pleasure of feeling what it is like to be bitten repeatedly by a Damsel fish, but don’t worry they are only three inches long and it didn’t hurt. The contrast between the sandy bottom and the coral heads was amazing and made the dive worth it, along with the small spotted sting ray and what I like to call the Elvis Presley fish. The rest of the day was full of fun lectures and a nice little trip into a small local town where we got to buy anything we might have forgotten and got to go hang out at a local beach. While at the beach I had a fun time drawing in the sand with a local boy named Dilon, he took it upon himself to draw a picture of each of us in the sand which made us all laugh. After dinner and a lecture some of us went on a night snorkel where people collected some specimens for the wet lab. Though no one topped the octopus from yesterday, some urchins and other small creatures were obtained. This is Colin Casey signing off and GO PATRIOTS.

Day 2

January 3rd Tuesday… Our first full day began with pancakes, bacon for the meat lovers and lots of fresh pineapple. Our orientation lecture segued quickly into the history etc of the coral reefs we were about to swim over. Our friendly dive master Anthony oriented us yet again and we were clumped into those who were already SCUBA certified, those who wanted to be or would be soon (myself included 1st checkout dive at 7am) and those who will snorkel. That accomplished we signed our releases and finally got wet. My roomate and snorkeling partner Elisabeth and I spotted a trumpet fish, many donkey dung sea cucumbers (according to the book), the ominous spiny sea urchin diadema, and fish too numerous to mention. We were scattered, dazed and quite hungry when we returned for a lunch of baked mac and cheese for me and ham for the rest. An afternoon lecture by Brad on ecology was followed by another snorkeling session. This is the one where you become aware of how well or poorly your gear fill. You would be amazed at the difficultly of getting into a wet wet suit. I took a collection bag and soon had two bivalves, four types of sea grass and two worms which escaped quickly from the bag. I spent our first spare hour with my text book and a bit of fiction then set about identifiying what i had seen (I’m up to 16 or so). Dinner was potatos green beans, and a gnochi bean thing for me and goat stew and bony fried fish for everyone else. A few brave and tireless souls (Justin and Brian) returned from a night dive with a shrimp and a fabulous octopus. Its nearing ten now and i cannot wait to climb into bed. ps. no sunburns yet. -brooke


After a long day (which began at 3am for some of us), we’ve made it in one piece.  Both Prof Peterson (Brad) and I are very impressed with the accomodations here thus far: nice rooms, excellent lab facilities, great food, and a friendly and knowledgeable staff.  Brad and I have just finished mapping out our plan of attack for the next 10 days which should include twice a day lectures and twice a day field trips with digital underwater cameras for the students to use to begin building their species lists and identification skills.  After dinner, Brad reviewed some of the organisms to be expected on the local reefs with students (see picture).Day_1