Back late from another night snorkel – folks are too tired to blog so more tomorrow enjoy pictures in the meantime. We cleaned our last beach and pulled 61 lbs of trash from Haulover. All of it marine debris – the mess we have made of our oceans was so apparent!
Today we decided to give back to the islands and collect data by picking up trash from Haulover Bay on the North side. It was 61 pound of trash-everything from plastic straws to shoes to an iPod nano- it’s incredible what washed up on this beach! While we were cleaning, there was a ten minute downpour where the wind picked up and we all took shelter under the trees and sea grapes, and then it went back to being sunny and hot.
After picking up all of our trash, we went to South Haulover and snorkeled. While getting into the water, Kristie and Cassidy were attempting front flips, which went ever so well…. No one was injured, which was lucky considering it was Friday the 13th. We were expecting to see a coral reef that was talked about in the guide book, but when we got there we found out that been mostly bleached, leaving it an environment of colonized bedrock. It was a rough day with periodic rain showers, so we didn’t head out as far as we would have liked, and North Haulover was too rough to snorkel at all. After our snorkeling, we were all starving, so we headed to Vie’s Snack Shack, where most of our group had their second lunch of conch fritters and johnny cakes. There were tons of banana quits in the tree above us, hoping to scavenge crumbs, and one pooped on Suzanne’s shoulder, making us all shield our food in case of further issues.
We also got to snorkel in the Princess Bay mangrove forest, as you can see from the above picture looking through the mangrove roots out into the seagrass bed. We got to see two stingrays here, and many smaller barracuda, as well as juveniles of many different species. One of the coolest things we saw here was an upside down jellyfish, which was bigger than expected and incredible!
On our way back from second lunch at Vie’s, some of our group stopped at Salt Pond Bay to snorkel, where we saw a spotted eagle ray! We also got to see a green sea turtle that was tearing up a sponge to eat, and several different species of fish trying to scavenge pieces of flying sponge. When we got out we laid on the beach and got dry for the first time in several days, and when we got back we found out that the water pump had broken at VIERS, so we had to pass on the showers. A few of us went down to the docks at night, and another group went out to a night snorkel- when we were on the dock, everyone in the group got to see at least one shooting star, and we saw some phosphorescent algae that looked like underwater fireflies- all in all it was an amazing day!