In the past three days, we have done 5 dives! It has been one of the most exhilarating moments of my life. I am relatively new to SCUBA but in just these few dives, I have become astronomically more comfortable in the water with the tank and weights. The first dive was a learning curve, in salt water our bodies are more buoyant than inn fresh water- I didn’t have enough weights on to counterbalance this. So in order to get down low enough to look at the corals we were identifying I had to literally swim down, feet fully above my head in the water column (one of the most awkward situations ever). BUT for the next dive, I made the adjustment and the experience was so much more comfortable!
Identifying corals has been an interesting experience to say the least. I have been able to correctly identify most of the corals pointed out by the instructor during our dives; however, saying them is a completely different story. I have made each instructor and other interns laugh by the absurdity of my pronunciation- and I am being serious in trying to say it, I am not trying to make it a joke. So this has been one of the ones that I have struggles with the most in pronouncing- Porites furcata.
See all the white coral that kinda looks like it has small little flowers covering it? Those little flowers are called polyps and are a major defining characteristic in identifying corals. As long as I continue to write the scientific names of these corals for ID on my underwater slate, I don’t have to pronounce them and will be great!
On our second dive this morning, we saw a nurse shark! It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen. She wasn’t even bothered by us diving as she swam over the wall into the depths. I also went snorkeling this evening, where I was lucky enough to come within a few feet of a hawksbill sea turtle! We all, two other snorkelers came out with me, floated at the surface and moved with the waves. It was also very cool and has me tying my gopro to my wrist forever because apparently the treasured moments occur when I do not have my gopro.
My only wish is that the colors would be more apparent in the videos and pictures. The underwater world holds such a gorgeous view of strange looking animals, and capturing it just does not hold the same shock factor.
Tomorrow we have another dive in which our coral identification skills will be put to the test! Wish me LUCK!
Until next time!