Day 6 – Rays, jellies and reefs, Oh My!

We had a bright and early visit to Bailey’s Key with the absolute best underwater visibility in a long time (according to Kathleen). The dolphins seemed quiet at first and then they were playful with jumping above the water. They were playful with each other and mostly left Kathleen alone. We can all recognize Tank, Stan and Dory … because of their small sizes. We had quite a few sightings of Mrs. Beasley too. Our data collection observations were followed by another amazing breakfast … and then we went to the snorkel boat for a morning of underwater adventures. (Kristin and Jackson went to a different boat to try scuba but the rest of us went snorkeling.) We saw some different island architecture as we motored to our farthest snorkel spot. The first snorkel had lots of fish that we could ID because of the fish ID talk. Not all of us saw the octopus but it was eating a conch and was draped over the shell. We saw lionfish and sea urchins and lots of fish. Of course, one or two of us also decided to have a jellyfish encounter … without permission of the jellyfish! Vinegar works wonders on jellyfish stings, as does a fresh water shower!
On both the first and second snorkel session (because there were two on this one boat trip today), even though we had a wide-open ocean area, we bottlenecked around each other. So, each of us knows what it feels like to receive a fin kick to the face. At the end of the first snorkel, several of us saw a giant stingray (not a fish tail because it was bigger than Dr. K!).
After a delicious and much needed lunch, we went back to Bailey’s Key to try our hand at collecting data for our own research projects. We worked out lots of kinks about our data collection and worked out some details. It is much harder to count respiration rates than we originally thought and we also realized there were full and partial breaths! We also got quite a few questions answered by the trainers and we want to give them a thank you shout out!! Thank you for letting us be in the way to observe you and ask questions.
From Bailey’s we went to the RIMS classroom to listen to Jennifer about sea turtle conservation. There was a lot of information in a relatively short amount of time. It is clear Jennifer is passionate about turtle conservation. It was interesting to learn that the first thing you think about conservation is not necessarily the best way.
We just finished reviewing the morning video data that Kathleen collected and we agree with her that the underwater visibility was spectacular! Now, we are on to dinner!
Tomorrow is our encounter and swim with the dolphins, after of course we collect data in the morning!
the CSU RAMS in Roatan 2019 group!

P.S. dinner was delicious!