Woke up to windy weather again today. We had breakfast, and sat down with the dive operators and instructors to run through our first open water dive, and packed the vans for Casa Cenote! The crew had to split into two groups, one doing their first two OW dives, while the other snorkeled and enjoyed the incredible mangroves and adjacent beach. A cenote is a sinkhole formed by underground water eroding away limestone. The ceiling collapses, allowing access to the water below. Cenotes were the primary source of water in the Yucatan peninsula.
The first dive was a tour of the cenote, where we all became comfortable in the open water. On the way to the dive we met two great people, whose kids will hopefully work with us in the future. They were excited about T4O. The organisms were so different from those on the reef and in the seagrass beds that we have snorkeled in. There were strange algal and bacterial mats, and VERY cool blue crabs. Mr. M will ID them later. We took cool images and shot a lot of video that will be awesome for our movie we will make when we get home. The dive instrcuctors took us through some overhangs and caves, which was challenging, but very memorable. We set up our buddy teams and took care of each other. We need to work on our buddy skills for our next dive. Cole and Parker joined us for the day (friends that are staying with their family near by).
We got home exhausted and went over to the home of Cole and Parker. Their parents were SO hospitable and nice. We ate great food and then walked home on the beach as a big group. On the way home we found bioluminescent microorganisms that were amazing. They produce lights enzymatically and we talked for a while about it.
We bought some supplies for the next day and went to bed. Hope the wind lays down tomorrow.
Internet is spotty in our bungalows. We have not had any luck pushing images to our blog site, but Jeremey is working on it!
The crew woke up early today for the first of four dives to complete PADI certification. Unfortunately, heavy winds forced us to put off plans for Scuba diving. Tomorrow, we’ll start the process by diving in a nearby cenote. We spent the morning being overcharged for the water at breakfast, and snorkeled the reef offshore, where we saw several squid, barracuda, lots of tang, three species of urchin, pretty coral (despite it being only about 5% coverage), and found an awesome spot for a seagrass survey. We planned a study of sea grass beds for later this week. This afternoon, we snorkeled in a lagoon, and learned about brackish water ecosystems. The onshore winds kicked up sediment and the visibility was not great, but we had a great time. Tonight, we’ll eat at a local Cantina restaurant close to the hotel.
Today we arrived at Akumal after two long flights and a grueling 9 hour layover in Houston. Upon arrival in Cozumel, we took a ferry to Playa del Carmen and then took a taxi to Akumal. We’re staying at Hotel Akumal Caribe, where we spent the afternoon snorkeling, playing football on the beach, and eating at the hotel restaurant (Lol Ha). Afternoon snorkeling included sightings of green turtle (Chelonia sp.) eating seagrass (Thalassia sp.), and a four foot barracuda (Sphyraena sp.). We’re all pretty tired, but are looking forward to a great trip!
The Kent Denver Teens4Oceans Club hosted an information session today at their school in Colorado. Representatives from Wild Goose Engineering, Ocean First Divers, and Ocean Classrooms (a T4O education affiliate) attended the event giving demonstrations and watching student presentations on the various aspects of the organization. Several students presented on last year’s Marine BioBlitz at Biscayne Bay, as well as the upcoming DEMA trip. Other demonstrations included coral taxonomy, estuary health, fish taxonomy, and camera mantinence and construction.
On November 18th, several T4O instructors and students will be going to Las Vegas to participate in the DEMA exposition. We will be using iPads to show off our cameras, ad several other technologies in our possession to promote Teens4Oceans. We were invited to the event by Ocean Classrooms and Ocean First Divers. At DEMA, we hope to gain followers and promote our organization among our peers in Marine Biology research. We’ll be updating some of the more substantial elements of our website in the weeks leading up to the DEMA show.
The Virgin Islands cam, eternally harried by foul weather and technical difficulties, is down again. We’re working on it!
We’re also ordering some new merchandise for the website… What kind of products would YOU be interested in?
This week at Kent Denver is Teens4Oceans week! We’ll be fund raising Monday the 18th until Friday the 22nd. We’re also hosting a challenge in which students attempt to ride a crazy backwards steering bike 100 feet– if they’re able to ride that far, they win $100.
Check out the bike, built by director Trevor Mendelow!
Our good friend Graham Casden who we are working with to develop Ocean Classrooms, an online marine science curriculum, recently dived with white sharks (Carcharadon carcharias) off the pacific coast of Mexico. These beautiful organisms certainly posed for the camera! We hope to do a special trip with school kids next year to see these amazing animals. Thank you, Graham, for sharing these images with us.