• Subtropical and Marine Biology

Day 6: Snapshot Beach and Dump Reef

Snapshot Reef

School Masters at Snapshot Reef

After a breakfast of eggs and oatmeal we headed out to Snapshot Reef, which is to the far left of Monument Bay (where we snorkeled yesterday).This was a bit of a different experince for us because most of the reef life was deeper in the water. We had to dive to see a lot of the organisms up close. However, we saw a lot more organims and some new ones as well. Kari and I saw our first Southern Ray, Barracuda, and Black Durgon at the two reefs here.

I (Jennifer) also had many close encounters with some sea wasps and some sea combs. Kari got excited about spotting a sea wasp, so of course I got excited and swam over to see. Unfortunately, communication is somewhat lacking when there is a snorkel in your mouth, so I didn't understand what she was doing when she started flailing around in the water. I had just swam into the jellyfish... Fortunately for me, I was wearing a rash guard and it was only a little guy, so no damage done (though that sea wasp may be permanently scarred from the experiecnce).

The Gang at Snapshot Reef

The one thing about this reef was that there was no sandy beach walking in; instead, there was rock, gritty sand, and various sea creatures (i.e. urchins) that we were likely to step on, resulting in pain. After my very slow progress (I stood in one spot for a good 30 seconds trying to find the best route), Kari got impatiant waiting for me to get to a decent depth and piggy-backed me into the water. She was one of the few wearing snorkel boots. She was then called back to the beach to repeat the service. She ignored the call.

Dump Reef

Dump Reef is close to the research center and is named thus because the old naval base used to dump their waste in the area. The reef was a little hard to get to because it is located in an area without a beach, so we had to swim out and around to reach the area that Dr.s Larsen and Eichinger wanted us to see.

Turtle grass bed and patch reef at Dump Reef

The reef was shallower and initally not as exciting as Snapshot Reef, but once we spread out a little, the fish weren't so scarce. Some of the exciting finds of the reef were: Queen Triggerfish, Porcupine Fish, Donkey Dung Sea Cucumber, and a juvenile French Angelfish. Kyrie D. has a knack for finding things that everyone else misses, so she and a couple of others were treated to a green sea turtle (At Snapshot Reef, she spotted an eel and a squid, along with other sightings at previous reefs. We should all just follow Kyrie around...). 

When we (we were in the last group with Jon N., the Eichinger family, and Dr. Larsen) got back to the beach, we were surprised to find out that on our trip back, we were being stalked by one of the biggest barracudas seen so far and we never even knew it. We also found out that while we were being followed in the ocean, there was an ongoing battle with one of the local dogs occurring on the sand. Clothing, bags, and shoes were being moved, people were not allowed out of the surf, and chairs were brandished. The score currently stands in favor of Luther Biology, but Isaac E.'s shoe is still M.I.A., so the San Salvador Dogs have a home court advantage.

Queen Parrotfish leaving the cleaning station at Snapshot Reef
The Great Barracuda at Snapshot Reef
Doc Eichinger chillin at Dump Reef
Austin B. with the Donkey Dung Sea Cucumber at Dump Reef