Sky High to Rock Bottom! We have reached Day 16 on San Sal and everyone has been extremely busy conducting their research projects and finishing up their organism projects. This morning, a couple groups got to take a break from their projects and snorkel around Monument Beach while others snorkeled out to gather more information for their research. One group even made a little fish friend! A baby bar jack followed them around for the entire snorkel.
This afternoon, everyone got to take time off and take a group trip to the lighthouse and bat cave! We took turns heading up the super steep, spiral staircases inside the lighthouse to reach the top and take a look out on part of San Salvador. From this amazing view we were able to catch a glimpse of several inland lakes and ponds while also getting to see the ocean surrounding the island. We even saw Pain Pond! No one fell down the staircases so it was a successful trip! After the lighthouse, we walked through a very woody path to reach the bat cave. We climbed down a ladder one by one to reach the slippery, dark habitat. Once we all made it down we took a group picture and began to search around. We walked through water that was up to our chins and headed back into the cave. Sadly, we were not able to make it back as far as we would have liked since the tide was not low enough. Right now we are experiencing neap tides. These are tides that are not very high or very low. This is the opposite of the Spring Tides we experienced the first week of the trip. Spring tides are extremely high or extremely low.
After emerging from the cave we headed back up to the lighthouse where we were greeted by a cute pup! Then we headed back to the GRC to wash our clothes and shower after being around all of that bat guano.
As we near the end of our stay here we are all doing lots of reflecting on our time. It gives us a greater appreciation of the natural world, especially the ocean. While for the most part we are seeing beautiful reefs we know they could be much better. We have seen dead and diseased corals, trash on the reefs, and recklessness by other people. This has all inspired us to take a deeper look at what we do and what effects it has on the world around us.
Kaity Seitz ‘20 and Cora Lutz ‘21