Tuesday June 19, 2013
Today we traveled by boat to Dave’s Patch Reef for the second time. However, instead of just snorkeling around, we used our time to map the small reef. We went about this by first measuring the dimensions of the reef and then marking it off. We then split into our groups. A group for coral, for gorgonians, and for sea grass, I was personally in the group studying sea grass.
You might be asking, “How do you “study” sea grass?” First we started of by taking squares of PVC pipe around 2 feet in diameter. The square was then sectioned off into four quadrants using string. Next, we brought the PVC squares or quadrates down to the sea grass beds surrounding the patch reef. We picked one of the four squares divided by string within the quadrates and counted the number of live sea grass, percentage of algae cover on the sea grass, and percentage of dead sea grass. We then worked our way around the reef dropping the quadrates down every 10 meters. Using this method we are able to extrapolate the data and get a good idea of the condition of the grass.
Once we were finished at the patch reef we ate lunch at a nearby island and took a much needed break. After lunch we headed by boat to a barrier reef to the north. It was by far the most beautiful piece of reef we have seen on this trip. Huge spires of coral shoot up from the sandy ocean floor, and thousands of fish mingled all around us. We spotted everything from barracuda to red grouper, but to our disappointment we didn’t see any sharks, however several members of our group weren’t exactly sad that this happened.
After the reef we took a short trip to a nearby shipwreck. The ship was a barge that had gone down in the 70’s. Its main cargo was rum and our guide told us that people had found bottles of rum washing up on the beach for months after. As we were free diving on the barge we noticed the wheelhouse was covered in fire coral. We then loaded up and headed back to Forfar.
After dinner and some downtime we had a lecture about the different types of reefs, which marked the end of our great day.