• Subtropical and Marine Biology

Day 5: Monument Bay and Sand Dollar Beach

Monument Bay

After breakfast at 7:30 this mornining, we hopped in our truck, truck L, and made our way to a beach called Monument Bay. This is where one of the four monuments comemorating the "spot" where Columbus first landed resides. However, the large platefrom raising the basin for the 1968 Olympic torch steals the show when you first arrive. 

Entering the water at Monument Beach

Located on the west side of the island, the day's wind direction made these waters calmer and clearer, making them easier to swim in. This gave us an ideal spot for some great snorkeling.

After serveying our reefs of the day, the class geared up and split into two groups. One taking the left reef and the other taking the right. There were four reefs in total at this location. It was a really exciting trip for the class because it was our first time seeing actual patch reefs. The organisms we saw here were more diverse and generally larger in size. Two of the many organizisms we saw here were the flamingo tongue and Bluehead Grasse.

Sand Dallor Beach/Rocky Point

Rocky Point and Sand Dollar Beach

After lunch and a quick nap, we headed back out to the water at Sand Dollar Beach that connected to Rocky Point. Rocky Point is a part of the beach that juts out, creating a pointy area. We had to swim out from Sand Dollar beach and past Rocky Point to get to the first of four reefs. From here, the reefs made a line so that to get to the next we had to swim further and further away from the beach. By the time we reached the fourth reef, I (Jennifer) had gone further from land than I ever had before.

Fan coral on the patch reef at Sand Dollar Beach

The reefs here were bigger and even more exciting than the reefs at Monument Bay. It was here that the class started to see some really interesting organisms, like the Princess Parrotfish and the Spotted Trunkfish.

The only problem with this location was that the water was a little choppier and the current was a little stronger. We were likely to get stuck while swimming over a reef, having to wait until a current could help you swim out (if you kick too much, it was very possible that your fins could damage the reef). This was fine for viewing, but the water made you bob up and down so the reef below you came very, very close. However, this was more frightening than dangerous and we soon grew acustom to the current and the reefs. 

Also, a shoutout goes to Gabe S.as it is his birthday today. Happy 20th Birthday Gabe!

Nicole and Austin on the olympic monument
Fire Coral at Sand Dollar Reef
Kyrie D. and Dr. Eichinger check out under the ledge