May 18, 2021 by Sophia Kaercher
The last day in Curacao started with an early wake up call for our third and final Covid test at 7:00 a.m. After we all got our noses swabbed, we went straight to the last dive site at Snake Bay. Since my dive gear was drying, I decided to sit out the last dive and watch my friends enjoy their last dive of the trip. I relaxed on the beach and enjoyed some quiet time. It was nice to have a relaxing moment after all of the awesome activities that we had already done on this trip. After the dive, we stopped to see some flamingos and then headed back to Carmabi to grab some food and to refuel on energy for the rest of the day. For our last day, we went on a tour of Curacao and saw some of the well-known spots that people visit. We first tried to see a lagoon where sea turtles were known to congregate, but we were unfortunately turned away by the police because of some of the Covid restrictions that are still in place here. Of course, today is the last day of restrictions as well as our last day here. Even though we didn’t get to see any turtles, we got back into the vehicles and went to the blowhole on the edge of the island. We got all kinds of pictures and saw the sea water shooting up through this small blowhole. It was pretty awesome. Then, we went on an hour hike to do some snorkeling in a secluded bay where there was a great colony of Acropora palmata. The water looked beautiful and a few of us suffered mosquito attacks. The tour around Curacao was an awesome way to end our adventurous trip. Know we are all back at Carmabi and we are getting ready to have a trivia night with the dive shop next door!
This trip has been one of my absolute favorites that I have ever been on. I felt like I learned so much about scientific diving and marine research on this trip and I can’t wait to put it to use. Dr. Begin and the TA’s have been an awesome source of information, and I feel lucky to have been able to experience this adventure. As we are getting all packed up and ready to go home, I have mixed emotions. I feel happy that I experienced this trip, but I’m sad to say goodbye to all of the friends I made and the beautiful island of Curacao.
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, 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.