This is the first in a series of guest posts from Aquarium volunteer Sarah M. Winchester. She participated in the most recent Bahamas Collecting Trip. As our expedition leaders are gearing up for next Spring's expedition, Sarah chronicles her experience with the Aquarium in Bimini.
Day 1: Heading out to sea
To say that our days aboard the Coral Reef II were
busy is a massive understatement. From dawn until dusk (and many days
longer than that) we were diving, caring for the fish we collected and
pretty much devouring any morsel of food placed in our paths. The work
was hard and the days were long, but the trip seemed to fly by, and
before we knew it we were back at port in Miami saying our goodbyes.
Here is a little day-by-day of our adventure. Hopefully you can get a
small taste of what it was like to find, collect and bring back some
beautiful fish for the Aquarium. (Even better than a small taste is a first-hand look. Find out how you can join our next expedition!)
New England Aquarium staff, boat crew and us volunteers, all spent the night aboard the Coral Reef II at port in Miami, as to allow us to push off in the early hours Friday morning, April 1, 2011. We traveled an hour down river to reach the Atlantic and headed out to make our Gulf Stream crossing.
As we pulled into Bimini we were escorted by a pod of dolphins playing the bow wake. It was all too perfect. (I was too busy squealing and jumping up and down to get any photos…I guess some things are better left in your own little memory.)
We cleared customs in North Bimini, and readied the ship for all the fish, which would soon be ours.
Ship shape and ready for some fish.
Collecting bags, check
The prospect of having to go down there and actually catch some fish began to feel little daunting. We had so many empty wells and such a long list of fish. How was I ever going to collect all those little guys? As a recreational diver, you adhere strictly to the law of “do not touch” and now I had nets in hand and a collecting bag at my hip…here fishy, fishy.
Like what you see? Join us for this Spring's expedition to Bimini, Bahamas! There are a few spots left.
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Aquarium divers go on several daily dives to care for the animals in the Giant Ocean Tank (GOT) as well as lead expeditions to the Bahamas.