The first group heads to shore.
On our way over we saw several southern stingrays in the shallow water. When we got to the beach we found many conch shells, a sea turtle scute, and lots of plastic trash (sorry Sunnye!)
Jacki with a conch shell.
We worked as a team to set the net before we pulled it towards the shore. We each had different duties. Some pulled the net towards the shore, others splashed the water so fish wouldn’t swim by them, and others snorkeled beside the net keep it from getting stuck on rocks.
Nick and Alex pull the seine net.
After we pulled the net into shallow water we grabbed both sides (the net had a “float line” which was on top and a “lead line” which was on bottom) and pulled the sides together. We identified all the fish and invertebrates we caught before setting them free. We caught flat needlefish, silversides, mojarras, barracudas, a sergeant major, a schoolmaster, a frillfin blenny, two blue crabs, and a star-eye hermit crab.
Checking out our catch
We headed back to the boat for our morning dives and had a surprise waiting for us. Tori spotted something in the water. Spotted dolphins! Two mothers and their calves were swimming all around our boat. It took about two milliseconds for everyone to put their masks, snorkels, and fins on and jump in the water with them. They stayed with us, clicking and vocalizing, as we swam alongside the pairs. They didn’t seem to mind our presence and we stayed a respectful distance away. It was an amazing experience for all of us.
As if that wasn’t enough, we also completed our Open Water dives #2 and #3 today. One more training dive to do tomorrow and all the students will be certified divers!