Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Link for Travel Photos!

Here are the links to the two google photos folders if you would like to see all the photos taken during the trip:

Here is a link for all the photos Jozie Bolduc took during the time of travel and some while in honduras! Hope you enjoy~


Monday, July 30, 2018

Fourth Day in Roatán

July 28, 2018

Students woke up this morning to a breakfast of pancakes and fruit. They then went to their first lecture of the day which was about invertebrate surveys. They learned about the different invertebrates and their importance in coral reef ecosystems.

After the lecture everyone geared for heir first dive of the day. During the dive everyone did invertebrate surveys of the reef. They counted all the invertebrates they saw along a 30 meter transact tape, such as brittle stars, feather worms, sponges, and cleaner shrimps. When they finished this task they then went on a fun dive where they saw a hawksbill turtle and a big eagle ray.

We all had lunch, then participated in a snorkel treasure hunt. The hunt involved finding different marine animals and taking pictures of them. Each animal was worth a specific amount of points.

Our next activity was a second dive of the day. During the dive we did more invertebrate surveys on a transect. After, while swimming around, we saw a scrawled cowfish, and two hawksbill turtles!

Everyone was ecstatic about our dinner of hamburgers and French fries, and a dessert of cake because it was someone’s birthday. The after dinner activity was a pub quiz where we answered questions about hints like Disney movies and common knowledge. During the pub quiz, some students went on a night snorkel. They saw some really cool things like lobster, squids that inked on Brian’s camera, and a cool, color changing octopus.

Feather worm
Lily on the boat
Hawksbill turtle 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Third Day in Roatán

After a fun breakfast of French Toast and Fruit the group had a lecture about Benthic Surveys. We learned about the many different types of surveys and which ones are the most efficient and accurate. 

In our dive directly after the lecture we tried out some of these surveys. Some groups laid out transect tapes and recorded what was under it every meter and other groups worked with recording quadrats to make 3D models. Some of the groups saw a loggerhead turtle and rays during the dive 

After the dive we had lunch followed by a very rigorous reef knowledge test. The test involved a swimming relay where we had to answer reef ecology questions and the winning team got ice cream!

We then had our second dive of the day where groups did more of the same benthic surveys. During the time afterwards we got to swim around and students saw a Midnight Parrotfish, Banded Coral Shrimp and huge schools of Creole Wrasse. 

We then dried off and headed into town for some shopping!

To end the night we learned more about 3D modeling of reef topography and watched some demonstrations of how the recording we did turned into complex 3D models on a computer. The rest of the night was spent with some downtime to work on our journals!

Students learning about 3D modeling
Midnight parrotfish
Kyla and Cheyanne 
An ocean triggerfish

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Second Day in Roatán

This morning students woke up for a delicious breakfast that consisted of fresh fruit and pancakes, but to our dismay, real maple syrup was not provided! 

Everyone then headed to their first lecture on Roatán that was about Fish Surveys! It was very interesting and we learned the two main ways of surveying an area. We also talked about what classifies a fish and a couple of the main species that we would be seeing along the reefs 

After the lecture we all geared up for our first dive at a location called, The Aquarium. Students practiced laying out transects and then surveying and identifying fish on both sides of the line. After we did this groups went for a swim around the reefs where they saw a Porkfish, a Hawksbill Turtle, a Dog Snapper and a Smooth Trunkfish. 

After the dive we had a very tasty lunch and Doctor Bryan Wilson gave a talk about a certain crustose algae that is taking over reefs around the Caribbean and the research he is doing about it. Students then learned more about the Stereo Video Survey (SVS), which is two cameras connected to a metal fixture that captures fish from two different points of view. The SVS can be used to count numbers of fish and it can also be used to measure the length of a given fish. 

Another dive followed the lecture and this time students went to Melissa’s Reef to practice surveying the areas. After the surveying we had another fun dive, this time students saw an Ocean Triggerfish, a Nassau Grouper, a Scorpionfish, a Graysby Grouper and a Spiny Lobster. 

After super, at around 7:00 students headed out for their first night snorkel on Roatán. It was a very exciting snorkel as they saw two Octopus, more than four Spiny Lobsters, a couple of Peacock Flounders, a Spotted Moray Eel, two Spanish Lobsters and a whole bunch of Long Spine Sea Urchins!

Students are exhausted from their hard work today but cannot wait for tomorrow’s activities!

Owen and others putting gear on before a dive  
Aidan laying out a transect tape 
Yellowtail damselfish 
Erika and Kyla doing a survey along a transect 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

First Day in Roatán

This morning students woke up ate breakfast and packed their bags to be ready for a 9:00 departure from Utila. After saying our goodbyes to the lovely staff, we took dive boats to the Utila dream fairy where we then boarded the fairy headed to Roatán. Once arrived at Roatán we had an insane bus ride across island to Halfmoon bay resort where students will be spending the duration of their time in Honduras. Our rooms were situated, they are much bigger and more “clean” than those in Utila. We ate a rather excited lunch of some familiar rice with a side more rice (jk there was coleslaw). Then students geared up for their first snorkel on the reefs of Roatán right off the steps of the resort. Students saw a Nassau grouper, green moray eel, sharp nose pufferfish, hawksbill sea turtle, spotted trunkfish and some slippery dick.

After the snorkel students dried up and prepared for our identification quiz. The quiz was followed by a meal of pasta and hotdogs and SALAD!!! 🎉

Then students decided we would round up the crew and go to town for some gelato, which was muy bueno (very good). We will definitely be going back throughout the week.

Octopus eating a conch shell 
Half Moon Bay Resort 

Kyla with a hawksbill turtle 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Sixth Day in Utilá

Today students were able to sleep in because it was a no dive day. Everyone woke up at approximately nine o’clock to be down at the dock and ready for a snorkel off the boat. We all swam around Airport Caves for an hour, seeing many fish species like Honeycomb Cowfish, Queen Angelfish, a Great Barracuda and a huge school of Blue Tang. They also saw many other animals like the Spotted Eagle Ray, Christmas Tree Worms and a species of shark that we weren’t able to identify.

Everyone then headed to a quick lunch before their next snorkel off from Coral Views House Reef.

During the second snorkel of the day students got the chance to see a French Angelfish, Spotted Trunkfish, an Octopus and a Balloonfish.

After the snorkel students dried off and had some time to lay in the sun. They then went out into the town for supper and enjoyed walking through the unique streets of Utilá.

Students are now packing their bags and are very excited to start the new adventure in Roatan tomorrow morning.

Kyla snorkeling 
Octopus in its den 

Mariel and Analise doing a fish survey
Spotted eagle ray

Monday, July 23, 2018

Fourth and Fifth Day in Utilá

July 22, 2018

Students started their days off at 6:30 again ready for today’s planned activities. 

Open Water students headed back to their classroom for their third lecture which was about the diversity of coral reefs. After this they then headed out on their fifth and final confined dive where they practiced taking on and off their gear and their weight belts underwater . They saw aquatic life like the atlantic triggerfish and a grouper that was around 2 1/2 feet long!

Reef Ecology students went out for the morning dive witch consisted of fish ID. Dive masters lead students around silver garden pointing to fish and then at the fish names on dive slates they carried. We saw an abundance of fish species including the blue chromis, blue tang, blue head wrasse & blue head juvenile, three spot damselfish, banded butterflyfish, barracuda etc. the list goes on. 

Reef Ecology students then continued the day with a lecture about mangroves and seagrass and why they are important. 

And then both groups headed to lunch

After lunch Open Water students then had a fourth lecture which was about the future of coral reefs. After the lecture students then went in their third open water dive where they practiced being neutrally buoyant by manually using their buoyancy control device. Students even got the chance to see a spotted eagle ray that was “flapping” its wings in the distance. 

After lunch Reef Ecology students had their last dive of the day at Little Bight, in smaller groups, students performed a fish identification and underwater fish counting. Students were required to write down any fish and how many within an imaginary five foot square box around their bodies while swimming a horizontal line of 20 flipper kicks across the coral reef. Some groups were lucky and saw a ray, a peacock flounder, a yellow arrowhead crab, trumpetfish, flamingo tongue, etc. 

After supper students had some time to themselves and at 7:30 they then headed out to the dock for trivia night. Although none of our teams won everyone had a great time. 
Sam and Sarah Kate recording fish
Blue Chromis 
Spotted Eagle Ray

July 23, 2018

This morning started off with a fish ID lecture for the Open Water students. It was a nice refresher for students, because we had already learned about most of the fish in the VTVLC marine biology course. After the lecture was everybody’s last open water dive of the course. We performer two skills involving compasses and then swam around for the rest of the dive. We saw a lot of incredible fish like banded butterflyfish and fairy basslets, and some invertebrates like a spotted spiny lobster, a giant channel clinging crab, and some reef squid. 

Reef Ecology students went out for their morning dive at Light House where we took a “fun dive”, we went around the reefs searching for things we hadn’t seen yet. A lecture followed, reef fish identification continued, a pick up from the last identification lecture of fish we haven’t yet learned. 

Open Water students went back for lunch then finished our ID lecture with some corals, invertebrates and algae. Around 3:00 we went for our first dive as certified divers, which was right off the dock in front of Coral View. We swam out past the reef and descended to about 18 meters. We had another really great dive during which we saw some angelfish, a scrawled cowfish, and a banded coral shrimp.

After lunch Reef Ecology students went back out on the boat to Ron’s Wreck where we would have our last dive on Utilá. This dive was described as their best dive by many who went. Students teamed up and did our first REEF data collection. We counted what fish species we saw and how many. There were many amazing encounters with marine species some had not yet seen. This included a white spotted eagle ray, a scorpion fish, trunkfish, etc. This was a great last dive for most. 

After supper students headed out to the dock to do a night snorkel where they saw a balloonfish, a stingray, squirrelfish, a spiny lobster and even an octopus! After the snorkel students went back in the water to participate in a plankton tow. They went in and out of the channel trying to collect microscopic plankton. Students looked through their handheld microscopes and some were successful in spotting some plankton! 

Students are excited to be able to sleep in tomorrow as it is a no dive day!  
Analise, Aidan, Jacob, Kyla, and Carol looking at plankton

Yellow stingray
Students in the water for the night snorkel

Link for Travel Photos!

Here are the links to the two google photos folders if you would like to see all the photos taken during the trip: