Another Breakfast in Paradise
On the fourth day of the trip to Honduras, it truly became ironic how the name of the islands directly opposed the paradise they actually where. I woke up to rolling waves and a hummingbird hovering above a plethora of tropical flowers just outside our screened windows. After my morning routine, I made my way to the main gathering area. This area truly sells the fact that this is paradise: there are tall palm trees with hammocks strung between them, a beach teeming with life, and a kitchen where delicious meals are made for us. Once all SCUBAnauts made their way to the table, we ate breakfast and headed for the boat.
Benthic Surveys, with a Little Shake
Upon arriving at the first Honduras dive site for the day, I realized the water was much shallower then I anticipated. With each roll of a swell above me I would be shaken up and down, then side to side; this made my benthic surveys very difficult. Eventually, I finished my transects and met up with my group, then ascended shortly after.
Next, we headed to a sea wall named Pelican Point for a recreational dive. This is what most divers experience on a typical dive, but for us, to not conduct science on a dive can feel weird, but it is also a treat! So, after quickly getting in our gear, we splashed in and were immediately met with a view of a beautiful reef on the side of a chasm. We started this dive by descending to roughly 50 feet below sea level. Then we swam along the sea wall. There was an abundance of small fish along the wall, guarding their claim. Whether it was coral or algae, they guarded it relentlessly and watched us as we swam by. After 10 minutes into the dive we began seeing much bigger fish. We even saw a puffer fish bigger than a football. Sadly, we had to ascend to follow our dive tables, but not before making a safety stop where everyone practiced their bubble ring skills. We all boarded the boat and headed back to shore.
The Main Event of the Day: the Night!
After waiting for what seemed like an eternity to me, at last, it was sundown, and we moved on to the main event of our Honduras day: the night dive. It was difficult to gear up because it was pitch black around us, and it got even darker once we splashed in and submerged. Right off the bat, we saw a small octopus hanging on to a small rock just off the side of the reef. Then, only 6 minutes later we saw a speckled moray eel darting along the reef. Through out the dive we saw many more amazing creatures such as Massive conches, squid, and huge sea cucumbers. Then we found a sandy area and did something truly spectacular. We held our lights against our body to block the light, then waved our hands through the water so that a bioluminescent glow emitted around us.
A Different Set of Fireworks
We were all very sad that we didn’t get to be home on this fourth of July, but it seemed that this light show could easily beat any fire work display. After the bioluminescence settled, it became very hard to get a bearing of our surroundings. It began to feel as though I was floating in space because the only hint of other divers was a very faint silhouette and the occasional bump of fins. Once all lights were back on, we began our swim back to the dock from which we entered the water. We chatted excitedly about the life we saw upon surfacing. I quickly washed my gear, logged my dive, and headed to bed, closing my fourth day of the SNI Honduras summer trip.