Nolan collects data for his group science project at Looe Key after a change of plans.

by Nolan M., Naut-in-Training

Today Scubanauts went of the dock with Looe Key Dive Resort to do three scientific dives. The three selected sites required use of an anchor because no mooring buoys are available like the other sites we have visited. When the first mate was putting down the anchor, it came off the chain and sunk to the bottom! Since we couldn’t connect the boat to anything, we had to change the plan and go to Looe Key and dive there instead. During our first and second dives, the science groups collected data for their projects, and on the third dive, a couple divers saw a shark along with some huge parrot fish.

Part of our investigation includes measuring disease. We have discovered pillar corals are being attacked in the Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary.

We also took photos of rare pillar coral that may be showing early signs of disease on the third dive. These will be shared with researchers from a couple organizations looking at the new disease. In between the dives, some of the nauts and some adult leaders did some flips off the boat. A couple lead to some fails, but most were good. After the dive we returned to the dock and got the gear into the vans and to finish it all off, the daily fishy fail award went to the first mate that lost the anchor. Now he has to carry around the big fish for the whole next day! It was a fun day, and we had some great dives followed by data entry and a statistics lecture to help us finalize our group projects and get ready for presentations on Saturday.

A familiar face is welcoming under our boat–once you get used to it! 

Nolan’s dive buddy, Zac is an excellent mentor at nearly 300 dives.

Surface intervals usually involve a few shenanigans.