April 30th 2011

I love wildlife on the land and in the sea, but there is still something fishy about a 5 foot long Barracuda coming this close to you. Hahaha I said fishy get it? Anyway, we are getting into the groove and so the writing underwater is becoming more legible and there are fewer fish identity questions at the end of each dive.


image02728 Barracuda are always smiling, either they are very friendly or their teeth are way too big.

One of the big issues on trips like these is balancing dive safety with science goals. How many surveys can you complete on one tank of air and still return to the surface with enough air for a safety stop? To minimize risk everyone dives with a budy and the on board dive safety officer keeps everyone in check with air pressure and time limit safety requirements.

image02829 Marine science and SCUBA go hand in hand. Safety is key, buddy checks and proper gear maintenance is the order of the day.


Larger coral head like this one are not commonly seen near populated islands, where pollution, overfishing, anchor damage and the like can prevent them grown to such sizes and remaining healthy.

image02930 Large Montastrea are reef building corals responsible for much of the structure we see on reefs.


image03031 Sea fans sit atop many of the corals and rocky areas.

Another feature of the Cay Sal bank that is absent from other areas is the abundance of conch. Heavily fished throughout the Caribbean, they have become commercially extinct in many areas. This conch could not be convinced that I meant it no harm, but one day maybe people and conch can live in peace. No conch were harmed in the making of this missive.

image03132 Don’t worry little conch, we won’t eat you.