Island Times Blog

FATHOMS Science Camp Marine Biologist Log Day 3

June 26th, 2021 by Seatrek Staff |

By Ellie T., SeaTrek FATHOMS student

The morning started with pancakes and butter. We ate our fill and dove into Brewer’s Bay for a snorkel around the reef. We found a hungry stingray, flapping its wings against the sand. Anna told us that’s how they eat—they suck the fish in and smash their bodies against the seafloor. Symmetrical brain coral crept around the rocks, reclaiming it from the algae-covered stone. Much of it was dead and gone—but still, budding white crowned a few lucky coral branches. We spotted yellow-headed wrasse and a pufferfish hovering around a sea fan. He was smaller than my thumb; of course, he wasn’t angry or scared. After our foray we went back to the boat for science. We learned to identify reef fish. My current favorite is a scrawled filefish, doodled with electric blue. Before we could learn about the Bermuda grunt, Will spotted a smooth gray fin in the water. The mammals were crashing our fish lecture: a dolphin pod came to say hello! We teetered on the boat edge until Anna gave the go-ahead. Then, splash! We were in the water too! Not a mask or snorkel to be found. I can’t believe I saw them with my own eyes; today was my first time sharing the water with these creatures. After we got back to the boat we ate of Mac n’ cheese n’ minestrone. Then we welcomed our new friend Oliver, who isn’t taking scuba classes and comes over to do our activities while the rest of main program does scuba class! We played card games and Julian led yoga on the bow. After that, it was time for more science! Anna taught us how to use transects and quadrats to survey coral populations. We practiced with a relay race and our trusty coral camera. Anna played some Journey and Bowling for Soup. We all danced and sang and braided bracelets. Then we broke out the microscope: we looked at plant cell walls and fungi cells. We learned to tell the difference between phytoplankton (plant-like) and zooplankton (animal-like). Then, it was dinner time! We ate, then said goodbye to Oliver. It was time to finish our REEF ID lecture. We must’ve paid attention, because we all passed our quiz with flying colors. The evening was winding down. We showered off the boat, swapped shampoo and sweet-smelling lotions. Then we settled in for the night and watched Madagascar. It’s time for bed on “Aboat Time” and we’re all ready to snuggle in our beds and wake up to Day 4.

Hanging out on the hardtop!


A spirited game of cards (ft. Oliver)

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