09 January – DITs No More

Dits_rio_bueno

Today marks the start of our research projects!  As the days go on I think I can represent
most of us by saying that the attention my snooze button is getting increases with
each day.  People slowly trickled into
breakfast, which was eggs, ham, pancakes, and fresh fruit.  Not a bad start to the day!  After breakfast Lisa, Raphael, and I decided
to go on a Dive Trip with the C.W.Post group (who is also sharing the compound
with us) to Rio Bueno.  About 15 minutes
away by boat, this dive site is absolutely beautiful with clear water and lots
of marine life!  The boat that Lisa,
Raphael, Omar (the boat driver), and I took was called the “Tody” and was a
small boat which ran nicely over the water. 
          
Since the DITs (Divers
In Training) have now graduated to NODs (Novice Divers) (NODs Lisa and Kristin shown in above photo) we were able to dive by
ourselves for the first time!  The dive
began with a Navy Seal entrance into the water by sitting on the side of the
boat and falling off backwards into the water. 
When we entered the water our gear was then handed to us from whomever
was still aboard the boat.  After gearing
up we followed the anchor line down to about 20ft and swam away from the boat
to reach a coral face that steeply sloped down for a good 100ft.  This turned out to be our deepest dive yet as
we are allowed to dive up to 60ft.  There
were so many different corals, sponges, fish, and algae living on the wall face
that it was absolutely breathtaking.  After
the wall face we were able to dive through some small openings between walls of
corals, and under a protruding ledge we found a lionfish (photo below)!  He was just chilling out underneath the ledge
without a care in the world (apparently he didn’t have a research proposal due
in a couple hours).  The dive lasted for
about an hour total down time, and soon we made our way back to the
compound. 

Lunch was a
Jamaican staple-dish, Jamaican beef patties! 
They are fantastically delicious! 
After lunch we were to polish up our proposals and meet with Brad and
Joe to discuss our research projects.  Lisa and I have decided to do a study on the factors
that affect the distribution of organisms that live in the Giant Anemones (Condylactis gigantae).  As of today we have done a survey of 100
anemones towards the algal ridge and observed the organisms interacting with
each anemone.  Tomorrow we are going to
plan out the main portion of our project which consists of capturing the crabs
that live in these anemones, tagging them and the anemone they came from,
releasing them back on their anemone, and observing their migration and
competitive behaviors.  Hopefully we’ll
get another dive trip in too!

Hope everyone at home is doing well!  

-Kristin ><>

Lionfish

3 thoughts on “09 January – DITs No More

  1. Kristin – Congrats on your successful Open Water Dive. The Caribbean was a much better place for it than Lake Delta. You look mahvelous in your mask – thanks for all the updates.

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