Tropical Ecology

“The last full day”

July 31

Our last full day in Belize!

Woke up after last night’s tropical rain to a cool, refreshing breeze. The sunrise was beautiful as evident in the pictures taken by the early morning kayak crew. After breakfast we discussed the sadness of having to return to the real world and the absence of a cook/chef, wait staff, and Nathan to guide us through the day.

We visited Carrie Bow Caye Smithsonian Research Station to get an up-close view of the work being done on corals along Belize’s barrier reef. We learned that the researchers are anxiously awaiting the annual coral spawn and are hoping it will occur tonight (the 31st). The coral spawn is being used to study the effects of ocean acidification on coral polyps. Zach, the station manager, showed us two nesting sites for Hawksbill Sea Turtles that were made last night! Babies should hatch in 60 days.

Originally we had planned to snorkel in the Mangroves, but last night’s rainstorm stirred up too much sediment. Not wanting to miss our 5th snorkel opportunity, we traveled to another patch reef to see what we could see. Despite some serious chop, everyone was excited about the diversity of corals, as well as seeing a large stingray, barracuda, many spiny sea urchins and a Nurse Shark.

Our last night began with hilarious group “presentations.” Each team reflected on our experience in a creative skit. The skits began with the leaders’ brief presentation and ended with “The Beast,” a tradition since 1987.