SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
December 09, 2018
Avoid the Fire Coral!
Around 27° Celsius.
Wakeups for Echo at 7 am, I think, but my alarm clock always knows when to wake me up, aka A watch. Eyes are open and at this point, I am surrounded in my cozy bunk, wondering what's outside my curtains. I get ready, knowing that the day is all about reef surveys on the northwestern part of Monserrat. A couple of cleaning hours later and just around 10am, it's times to get ready for our 3rd survey since being in Grenada and on the Corwith Cramer.
Masks, snorkel, fins. check. I was beyond excited not only because of being on a different reef, but also because we are able to swim! I love to swim and getting any opportunity in the water is fair game. We ended up on Rendezvous Bay to perform our orientation swims, including any students who were doing additional work on their special projects.
Prior to the first reef group going out, Delta Watch, we had a brief overview of the area, and about any warnings or concerns about the location. Fire coral was on the list of things to be aware of. I am pretty alert and have situational awareness if is do say so myself, but whoa there was fire coral everywhere along this reef. As Shane and I commented, we were both doing some weird spy/ acrobatic stunts out there, trying to avoid touching these corals. Although, what's so bad about a coral just doing its coral magic on the reef? Well, these lovely orange/yellow corals in the genus Millepora, have an interesting outer layer with stinging cells (nematocysts) that could cause a range of reactions when touched. So, no bueno.
For most of the afternoon and evening, there was a lot of transcribing of our fish data, being on the fish team for this survey site. Some of those who were not on watch were free to go ashore, but being on the ship for night watch wasn't so bad. One awesome thing about anchor watch is this calming ability to take in the boat environments without it being filled with people. Every boat check, anchor watch, and weather recording is taken slowly, but still being able to process the why we do these things.
Tomorrow is an exciting day for the Cramer crew, but I won't spoil anything. It will be a new adventure, even though something new always arises living on the Cramer.
- Sharil Deleon, University of Rhode Island
p.s. Shout out to family and friends! All is well, and I have weird tan lines, but a brain full of information! Take care. Pura vida.