Professor Brad "Butterscotch" Peterson encourages Prof. Joe "Jicama" Warren to enter a lobster trap as part of a specially-designed cage experiment he has planned. Photo by Chris "Cous-cous" Thomas.
What a beautiful day in Jamaica, the weather was perfect with light trade winds, sunny skies, and temperatures in the mid 80s. This break in the weather allowed the sea to calm allowing the certified divers to make their first dive out on the forereef after a delicious breakfast. The clarity of the water was only 25-30 ft due to heavy winds over the past week, but it was really nice to get out there and get that first seaside dive in. What we encountered was many sponges, reef fish, corals, and a fisherman’s lobster cage. The lobster cage only had 4 of the Caribbean Spiny Lobster, but a bycatch of dozens of fish including a stonefish. While it was beautiful down there we look forward the next few days when we can get better clarity of the water column. While the certified divers went seaside, the other students enjoyed the snorkeling in front of Discovery Bay Marine Lab.
When we returned to the dock the remainder of the day was spent identifying the organisms we were able to get pictures of, lectures from our fearless leaders Butterscotch Peterson, and Jicama Warren, and a Jamaican style BBQ with the other groups studying at Discovery Bay. You would think that the highlight of the day would be the BBQ with Calypso Band at the end of the day, but I have to confess that the lecture about Climate Change and coral reefs (and penguins) takes the cake as the BBQ abruptly ended at 8pm after about an hour of food and live music. While it was a good time it didn’t last long enough. Tomorrow the group from Wisconsin and Minnesota leaves which will open up more space for everyone and allow the guys to join the rest of our group at night on the grounds of DBML. We are hoping for similar weather conditions tomorrow, with even lighter winds, and no rain.