May 10, 2021 by Ally Kilnap
I woke up on my first morning in Curacao this morning not to the alarm I set yesterday evening, but to the call of the infamous CARMABI roosters, and I have to say that it felt very authentic. After all of the post-breakfast preparation and socialization we grouped together to go over the dive plans for our first day. Our main focus was to just gain an initial basis of maintaining buoyancy on the reef since this, for many of us including myself, is our first time diving in the ocean.
We broke up into our dive groups and began our beach-entry dive. The ocean felt the same temperature as my showers at home so I decided to forgo my wet suit and sought to see how that would affect my buoyancy. As we began our decent I immediately realized that I was much more negatively buoyant without a wetsuit. Tomorrow I will be sure to lessen my weight. Still, I was able to dive comfortably in the beautiful reefs of Carmabi. It was truly full of life. Fish swarmed each mound of coral that shown in magnificent colors. I was even able to identify some of the species I had memorized on the plane!
After the dive the whole group decided to head to the beach side bar, where I am now currently seated, sipping a pina colada and making some really awesome new friends. While I know it is only our first full day I know this is going to be the trip of a life time with amazing people and so much to learn.
Photos by Abigail Vivlamore
The authors of this blog are students enrolled in Tropical Marine Ecology and Conservation, field courses run in the Caribbean by the University of South Florida. In 2019 and 2021, the course went to the Carmabi research station in Curaçao and dived around the island over a 10-day period, for training and to carry out research projects. In 2018, the group went to Soufriere, Saint Lucia, and took part in various projects in partnership with the Soufriere Marine Management Association. In this blog, students will document their activities and how they relate to course material.