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123 copyAfter being woken up by Hayden at 0630, students jumped into the refreshing water for morning dip and played a game of Waboba. After a hard-fought game, starboard watch won. After fueling up with a scrumptious quiche, we prepared ourselves for the first dive of the day.   We smothered ourselves in layers of sunscreen and embarked on the inflatables for Whistling Cay.

The research teams tirelessly worked to prevent contact with the coral. An hour and a half and 84 coral logs later, researchers returned to the schooner for a quick snack and to warm up (and to re-apply sunscreen!). We ventured back to our posts around the island to resume research for the morning session. There was a lot of smaller Elkhorn logged during that trip. While coming back to the vessel after research, students rode over many “party waves” and had a blast while doing so.

At lunch, we refueled with quesadillas and were ready to go back out for the third time covering a different side of Whistling Cay. It was amazing how many fewer healthy coral surrounded this part of the island. Students struggled with the shallow water and waves that brought them quite close to the coral and island face. After another quick break, we used the last minutes of sunlight to log the remaining coral for the day. The day ended with a Caribbean-themed cookout on deck. There were twinkling lights and Reggae to add ambiance. We are feeling bittersweet about their last day of research tomorrow!

REEF Blog: January 22
REEF Blog: January 25