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August 1, 2012

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From Kevin, Laura, & Jennifer M.:

Last night we were lulled to sleep by rustling palms, waves, and even a little rainstorm. We awoke refreshed to do our island tour and then hit the boat for the days highlight…snorkeling! We explored this beautiful underwater ecosystem, amazed by the diversity.

The quiet vastness and epic beauty of this unknown world washed over us a feeling of humbled peace. As our bodies gently swayed with the current our minds drifted off into a meditative tranquility. Vivid colors and funky shapes danced beneath us…tantalizing, mesmerizing. Living in the moment, oblivious of our troubled world, are these creatures. How small we are in this world, how small we are.

After a meal break we enter back into the world of the aquatic unknown. For the first time, many of us headed into the water, snorkel gear in place, to snorkel in…the dark. The world we had explored during the day had changed to an eerie wonderland complete with stingrays, barracudas, and octopus. Snorkeling through the darkness was an experience second to none, only surpassed by the friendships we have gained.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Gavindra Bharrat permalink
    August 1, 2012 3:08 pm

    Looks like a fun time at sea. How were the ecosystems and the organisms that lived under the sea? The sea seems to just be filled with wonders that are seen by only a few and is invisible to the rest of the world as we contaminate it.

    • August 4, 2012 10:07 am


      It was simply a wonderland under da sea!!! It is unreal how many different species of organismas live in just a meter of reef, from those that are motile (fish, lobster, octopus, rays, …)to those that are more sessile (corals, sponges, anemone, …) We snorkeled several times including at night while wearing our glow in the dark bracelets. We not only snorkleled the open ocean but also a mangrove area where a myrid of life forms attach themselves to the mangrove root system. No matter where we went there was always the reminder of human civilization as bits of plastic and paper were found floating in the water. Keep in mind that pollution travels & some, like plastic, takes FOREVER to degrade as it is carried by the current so trash that is deposited in N.C. could be the same trash floating in the beautiful waters of Belize – remember Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!!!

  2. Meredith Matsakis/ AP Earth permalink
    August 3, 2012 8:40 am

    This sounds so amazing! Was the diversity extremely different at night from when you went snorkeling during the day? You said there were some different things, but were there still the usual fish swimming in the dark/

    • August 8, 2012 9:57 am

      The diversity wasn’t as different during the night because it was so close to the full moon. BUT we did see some cool things during all our snorkeling. I had a list of species I wanted to see and I saw them all. Squid, octopus, nurse shark, green morey eel, barracuda.

  3. Mattie Vorder Bruegge permalink
    August 5, 2012 2:25 pm

    While you were observing the underwater environment, did you see any examples of mutual symbiosis or ways in which different species worked together? I have always heard about different species of fish helping each other out.

    • August 6, 2012 2:19 pm

      Hey Mattie-

      When we were snorkeling we did see examples of mutual symbiosis. One example of symbiosis is the clown fish and sea anemones which are found in the Pacific. However one of the great features of Belize is the pristine coral reefs. Coral are colonial organisms — tiny organisms that grow in large groups, or colonies, to form the large, colorful structures that make up coral reefs. Inside each coral polyp lives a single-celled algae called zooxanthellae. The zooxanthellae capture sunlight and perform photosynthesis, providing oxygen and other nutrients to the coral polyp that aid in its survival. In turn, the zooxanthellae is provided with the carbon dioxide expelled by the polyp that it needs to undergo photosynthesis. The presence of the zooxanthellae also provide colored pigments to help protect the coral’s white skeleton from sunlight. This is a mutual symbiotic relationship that is beneficial to both participants.

  4. Shawn witter permalink
    August 8, 2012 2:10 pm

    what sort of fish were found around the area? also do they have any major predators?

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