by Harison Rohrer:
Lots going on down here! Classes are now in full swing, and we’ve all chosen whether we want to swim or run. I chose swim track, so I went out with 6 other “experienced” swimmers earlier this morning for a one-mile loop. As far as classes go, we usually have two shorter classes either before or after lunch, and one longer class to fill the rest of the blocks. Yesterday, I had environmental art class and literature in the morning, and I went diving for Marine Ecology in the afternoon. The dive was the first of many that we will all be doing this semester in the same location. Each buddy pair is assigned a small patch reef to study throughout the semester, with each week focusing on a different aspect of reef life. While this week focused on coral and algae, I found myself staring at tiny schools of juvenile fish as they hovered in small protected areas of the reef as the larger snappers and jacks swam in the open water above. Since it was the first time on a dive that I’ve been able to sit and watch reef activity unfold before my eyes, I was incredibly happy for all of my 40 minutes underwater as my eyes tracked to and from the Sea Cucumbers, Groupers, Fairy Basslets, Snappers, Flamingo Tongue Snails, and small balls of bait fish. As my Marine Eco class surfaced from the dive, we were met by torrential rains and lightning in the distance. It was awesome.