SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
February 13, 2019
Snorkel Survey Surprise !!
17° 45.0’ N x 064° 41.0’ W
Ship’s Heading & Speed
Alongside Gallows Bay, Christiansted, St Croix, USVIs
Light trade winds E x S sunny with a few passing clouds and occasional rain shower.
Good Morning faithful followers of Cruise C284 Blog! Welcome to the story of our academic and scientific explorations of the Caribbean. Today we stepped off the deck of the Corwith Cramer and visited Cane Bay, St Croix, a popular beach and dive destination on the north shore. Our mission, to practice and refine our snorkel survey techniques, document coral reef health and reef fish and invertebrate diversity, and finally to have a bit of fun at the same time.
Pictures, thankfully, are worth a thousand words. Conditions were excellent, water visibility greater than 40’ provided cathedral views of sun-dappled reefs, and during our survey we were visited by sea turtles, rays, and finally a small pod of dolphins! As if that were not enough, we visited a well-known coral formation called Coral Castles that I have personally visited each year since 2002. I am happy to report it is looking very healthy!
An interesting destination along our underwater tour was a coral nursery managed by The Nature Conservancy. Here we observed floating ‘fields’ of staghorn coral meticulously ‘cultivated’ in an effort to protect coral reefs from the many threats of human-caused environmental change. We learned more about the future plans for the coral nursery from Ashlee Lillis and Allison Watts, two members of the Nature Conservancy’s coral restoration team who joined us for dinner onboard the Cramer. I proudly listened in as the students carried on a lively discussion with our guests concerning the future of coral reef conservation.
The other half of our fun-filled, day was dedicated to additional ship orientation and safety training. A full day indeed. Once the student learning curve levels off to a moderate level you will begin to hear their side of the story! Stay tuned.
P.S. To family, friends, and loved ones ashore, though we may be 1000s of miles apart you are never far from my heart. Sweet dreams.