SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
November 20, 2018
The First Coral Reef
For several of us today was the first time we saw a coral reef in real life. With me being from Norway, I have never seen a coral reef other than on Blue Planet II or Chasing Coral, i.e. documentaries. So to say that I was excited is quite an understatement. Today we finally put together the different things we have learned over the course of the term; identification of coral, fish, and invertebrates, as well as the practice sessions in the pool back in New England, where we practiced laying our transects and taking pictures of our quadrants. Although we did have some minor issues in laying the transect here in the field, it is nothing compared to how difficult it was to get a good transect in the pool.
I wish I could share a soundtrack of the crackling/clicking sound of the reef, or at least put it into words. Lots of these sounds is a clear sign of a healthy reef, and I am so happy that I was able to experience it when seeing my first reef. Unfortunately, the visibility was not ideal and I was constantly concerned that my fins would touch the reef and potentially damage it. I am used to kelp forests whenever I go snorkeling back home so to see these beautiful large carbonate structures, full of life, was truly amazing. Over the past few days, Hannah Stevens and I have been studying up on our fish identification, and I must say it has really paid off. When snorkeling today, I kept losing track of my buddy because I kept spotting different organisms. Amongst others, I saw a few yellowtail damselfish, several doctor fish, a few Christmas tree worms, and a sergeant major. This term my Directed Oceanographic Research group is studying three specific corals, so far we have only spotted one of them, the Porites asteroides, and whenever I see it I turn into a little kid in a candy store.
The Corwith Cramer has finally reached Grenada, so on our way to and from the coral survey site we stopped by which was quite exciting. Time moves really quickly here, and although we have only known each other for seven weeks I can hardly remember not having all these wonderful people in my life. To me it is absolutely crazy that in exactly a week we will be boarding the Cramer and setting off for sea.
- Nina Strand, Carleton College