by Caciques Ellen and Zeke Zeke:

During exploration time today, the waters at High Rock and Fourth Hole were a little less than nice to those of us who decided to take snorkeling trips there. Before brunch, a group of us from the boys’ dorm went to high rock for a snorkel. After being tossed around by the waves for a few minutes, we were soon chased out by the lighting we saw offshore and biked back to school, a little disappointed.

After brunch Erik Canfield and I took a trip to Fourth Hole to see if the octopus we had spotted earlier was still in his den. We couldn’t even find the den, and great deal of our time braving yet more waves that were trying to “turn us into chowder.” We didn’t see too much there, due to the water’s murkiness, so we headed back to school to try our luck at Boy’s Dorm Beach. The water was much calmer there, enabling me to get some great photos with my SeaLife camera. [slideshow]

On this trip, we came across a yellow stingray that appeared to be trapped in a fisherman’s cage. Just to be certain, we lifted the cage to try and free this poor fish. The stingray however, being no dummy, just squeezed out through a gap in the cage’s corner to get away from us. I managed to get this photo of him when he settled down a bit. Afterwards we paddled further down Boy’s Dorm Beach, where we were given a real treat: Making its way along the seafloor at a snail’s pace (literally), was a fingerprint cyphoma . Switching to macro mode on my camera, I proceeded to go “shutter crazy” on this uncommon mollusk, taking as many photos as I possibly could. During most of these, Erik held me underwater to keep me from floating around. This way, I could get nice, sharp images of this little guy. We picked him up and held him for a little while before placing him beside a source of his favorite food, gorgonians (sea fingers). Fingerprint cyphomas are related to the more common, flamingo tongues that we see feeding on sea fans and sea fingers. Like the flamingo tongue, they have a cream-colored shell that they cover with a colorful, fleshy mantle. Unlike their relative, however, they have a brown and yellow stripe pattern, not unlike a human fingerprint, whereas flamingo tongues have a spotty, orange, leopard print.  Finger print cyphomas are also much rarer than their cousins. I managed to get a picture of both species side-by-side for comparison. Overall, it was just really awesome to find such a beautiful creature on the last snorkel of the day.

Ellen: This morning the girls of Fall semester ’11 were planning a bonding trip to the beach. However, waking up to grey clouds on the horizon, we realized our trip, unfortunately, had to be canceled. Determined to bond we came up with plan B and decided to transform the common room into a movie theatre. With our curtains closed, someone’s sheet covering the beautiful island light that usually pours the common room doors and blankets and pillows spread around the room, we created a cozy spot to enjoy the movie and each other’s company. Things are pretty busy around here at The Island School so it’s rare to just be able to sit down and do nothing expect watch a movie. And sitting there, watching Angus, Thongs and Prefect Snogging projected onto our white board, I realized how much of a community Girls Dorm has already become. Bring up the fact that 8-day kayak is next week, which marks the midpoint of our semester, or that time seems to fly by here, and it will be met with groans. Just yesterday, we were talking about how much we know we’ll miss each other when we go home, realizing that we’ll go from living together to barely seeing each other. Good thing we already have reunions planned. So, maybe having our beach trip canceled was a good thing. Watching a movie allowed us a window of time to just sit down and hang out with each other, before 8-day kayak, down-island trip, research presentations, Parents’ Weekend and all the other events that are coming up way too fast.