Roatan: Summer 2018

Day 7 - June 8 - Mangrove Snorkel and Dolphin Lecture

We started our morning by snorkeling in the mangroves at Man-O-War Key. While the visibility was not great, the group soon saw why the mangroves are so important to the reef. It is the nursery area for most of the reef organisms, and we saw a lot of juvenile fish, crabs, and even an octopus. After the mangrove snorkel, we headed out to the lagoon area, just inside the reef. Since we were outside the marine park, everyone could collect organisms (to be released later) for show & tell. We rounded up a number of fish species (including a scorpion fish), conch (both queen and milk), sand dollars, a sea biscuit, pencil urchin, and a couple of small crabs. After a discussion about each species, they were carefully released back into the wild.

After lunch, we headed out for an afternoon drift dive. It was a pleasant, with nice coral diversity and a lot of fish. Unfortunately today was cloudy, so visibility was low, but we still saw large crabs, a spotted eagle ray, trunkfish, and a giant anemone. We said goodbye to our first week’s crew today as we will be getting a new crew tomorrow, so we took a group photo on the stern of the Alexander. After getting cleaned up, we all headed to RIMS for a talk on Dolphins by Jennifer (Lab Director), as tomorrow the students get their time in the dolphin pen for a one-on-one experience with the resident dolphin pod. As usual, after dinner there was yet another stimulating lecture.