May 16, 2021 by Taylor Zook and Shane
Cock-a-doodle-doo! A new day in paradise had begun. Today marked the last 3-dive day here in Curacao as we plan on visiting the city of Willemstad tomorrow afternoon. With that in mind, it was hard not to be a little emotional knowing our final dives here are approaching, however our gloominess quickly passes as soon as we stepped out of our rooms and into the perfect Curacao air. Ahhhh, ready for another great day of science!
Our first two dives of the day were at a place called Daaibooi, where fish surveying, photo transects, coral juvenile cover, and urchin population were the tasks at hand for the dive groups. Things got a little interesting, though, when a meter and a half long Southern Stingray decided to fly on by at about 20m. We had seen a ray before – a couple days ago – yet never this close for this long. Those animals are some of the most majestic looking marine animals there are in the ocean. The way they swim can really only be described as flying. Rays and Sea Turtles are the coolest looking creatures underwater solely based on the swim technique they use. Nevertheless, totally ecstatic to be able to witness that up close and personal.
After a quick lunch, we headed to the Tugboat dive site to have a fun dive. No tasks, no transects, just some good ol’ fashion exploration. The sunken tugboat itself was very cool to see since I don’t think many of us had never dove a wreck before. Overall, it was a very relaxing dive and I’m glad we get to sprinkle in fun dives here and there.
Tonight ends like every other night: a fresh daquiri in one hand and a beautiful sunset over the Caribbean Sea. This trip has been more than anyone could ever ask for and we feel incredibly lucky to have such a flawless group of people to experience it with us. Thank you Chantale, Boomer, Zoe, Abby, Sierra, and all of the other students here. we surely will never forget this trip.
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.