Post Bonaire/ Finals Wrap Up
Words cannot even begin to explain the wonderful memories and amazing experiences that I experienced on the island of Bonaire. It has been roughly two months since I have come back from my study abroad trip and I still think about it every single day. The delicious food, exquisite water, beautiful fish, wonderful people, everything was amazing. The coral was beautiful, and you really begin to grow an appreciation of these organisms after seeing them in person. They are massive!!! Being that they grow less than an inch a year, it is quite impressive. We dove so many sites, my favorite being Hilma Hooker, a wrecked, drug carrying ship. Sadly, my professor wouldn’t let me explore inside of it… Now you might be thinking, what was your most memorable experience? Although not an easy question, a certain moment stands out most of all.
In Bonaire, I conducted my study on the biofluorescence of coral reefs as an indicator of coral reef health. To start, my group and I would assemble our gear on top of the dock before jumping into the cold, hazy water. Strapped from head to toe with various ultra violet (UV) lights and spot lights, we would make the 5 foot hop into the dark water beneath us. At around 9 pm, I then led my group of four out into the cold dark waters with nothing but spotlights, hopes, and pencils. We would arrive at a head of coral, place a meter squared plot around it, place our orange mask filters on, and bombard the coral with UV light. I cannot even begin to explain the images my eyes were processing. Brilliant green and orange zooxanthellae juxtaposed with fluorescing organisms such as urchins and certain species of fish. It looked surreal, something you would only see in movies. We would take a picture of our plot and write down what organisms we saw. Pictures cannot capture the beauty seen by the eye; however, here is a sneak peek at fluorescing Caribbean coral.
I am now back at MC, reminiscing on my time in the Caribbeans. The moments I shared with all those wonderful people is what is pushing me through these final week moments. As part of the class, the video my dive partner and I made can be seen here.
Prepare yourself…..finals week is coming. It is now time to finish strong.