Crazy Coral and Silly Snorkeling! (and Pseudo-dolphins)

Of course, the day began as a typical Monday, even in the field. Manon and Kathleen got locked out of their room – before getting the gear (MVA, data sheets, snorkel gear) for our early morning observation session and data collection. This was at 5:15 AM! The front desk opens at 6 AM … they both did the 52 steps from taxi stand to front desk before meeting with Alexza for the spare key.

After the key fiasco, and Manon’s fourth straight day venting to the airline company (to remain unnamed), they finally found her bag! Of course, her bag is still somewhere in Europe and won’t actually be here until Thursday (we hope) but it still exists! And before our ride to Bailey’s we were observing nature and saw the puffer fish in our cover photo (Thank you Alexa or Alison!)

So, after these two sagas, the rest of the day was a piece of cake! Kathleen is just learning that three students overslept for the meet time this morning … so it would seem we all had a typical Monday morning start! And our day improved significantly as the day progressed.

Data collection in the morning was a great learning experience but the space use data was sort of a failure (according to the students) … mostly because clarity in the instructions and directions and understanding of what we were supposed to do. We also were juggling the regular surface observations with the space use data collection.

Thank you Marc for this panorama view of the main lagoon.

Breakfast was delicious and followed by a lecture on diving physiology from Shane. We loved the lecture because it took a lot of what we’ve learned before in other classes that were “weed-out topics” and Shane’s lecture brought everything together and made it more clear and understandable. We feel like we learned more because we were sort of put on the spot a bit … and we were challenged to think which was unique. This was our first in-person lecture in a year and a half … Shane really made us think and respond to his questions.

Lunch was meatball sandwiches or shrimp salad or veggie pizza … and a different but good carrot cake. This was the sustenance we needed for our boat snorkel session. This boat snorkel was the first time several of us EVER jumped off a perfectly good boat into the water to see what lives below. And we survived this emotional experience. Seeing in person what we have studied and watched in film over the years was a spiritual experience that did not really feel real but was truly exciting. Getting a bit scared because my snorkel buddy was gone and then I realized he was 15-20 feet below me!

We took a freshwater rinse together in the pool! Kathleen brought the MVA to the pool and we all got to practice using the MVA to record pseudo-dolphins in the pool (i.e., us in the pool). We’re grateful (and honored) to be participants in the DCP research and to be assisting Kathleen. To be able to hold the equipment that she uses to collect data and see what it feels like and how it works was a surreal and cool experience.  

It was a good day and we have another tomorrow … hopefully with everyone hearing our alarms and not getting locked out!


Dr. Kanatous’ Kindergartners (aka Roatan Rams 2021)