South Caicos, British West Indies
The first week at the field station here in South Caicos has been wild! South Caicos is a tiny island, about 8 square miles, located to the southeast of Florida and to the northeast of Haiti and the Dominician Republic. The sun is hot and keeps the water below our field station a thousand shades of beautiful blue. I am living with about 30 other college students from around the United States and learning about Marine Resource Management, Marine Ecology, and Environmental Policy and Socio-Economic Values during my time here.
Right now that means my new friends and I are snorkeling at least once, if not two times a day, exploring the underwater world, pulling up seagrass, examining sea biscuits, and eeking at stalker barracudas in the gorgeous bathwater. We are practicing our latin, with a quiz this Thursday on a handful of marine species that we will need to identify out in the field….or should I say out in the ocean!
In terms of my goals, I have realized that one of them is no longer possible. Nemo does not live in the Atlantic ocean! According to wikipedia, Nemo, also known as the clown fish, lives in the warmer waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Although disappointed at first at learning this information, I am consoled by other friendly marine creatures that we have gotten to visit within the first week.
A researcher working with sea turtles and the fisherman in the Turks and Caicos Islands brought in Green and Hawksback turtles for us to hold and look at while he worked on tagging them, weighing them, taking shell and skin samples, and taking measurements. We see eagle rays and manta rays gliding along the sandy bottom and find sea urchins and lobsters in the rocks along the shore. I’m looking forward to sinking into the rhythm of the field station these next three months and learning more about a whole new underwater culture.