Hello WordPress – my name is Leah. I graduated from McGill University in June of 2016 with a bachelors degree in psychology and a bachelors degree in classical history with a minor in neuroscience. Despite being one of the only non-marine science interns on locations, I haven’t felt too behind. I’ve been an avid diver since the ripe age of 13 and have pursued my diving education consistently since, eventually leading to Divemaster two years ago. Recently, I learned about scientific diving and pursued an AAUS certification at Rutgers University. At the same time, I have been working as an EMT for the past year, and am thrilled that I found this internship and was given the opportunity to come.
Today we did not one, but TWO survey dives. We went first to Marylin’s Cut, which featured a cave like swim-thru with a sandy bottom and a wall let out between 15 to 20m. We did our normal photo-transect surveys and counted the different urchin species that occupied the area. After a short surface interval that involved a few snacks and a lot of laughs, we (finally) made it to the much anticipated dive site Martha’s Finyard. The dive site is situated near the tip of Little Cayman, so it is often fraught with poor visibility and heavy surge due to the clashing of the Atlantic ocean and Caribbean sea. Deemed a ‘Finyard’ for good reason, the area is filled with hundreds of species and thousands of fish. Deep at some parts and shallow at others, the dive was one of the better ones we have completed so far.
After lunch, we had some time to analyze the data we had collected that day. We listened to a turtle lecture that taught us about the conservation efforts within the Cayman Islands and what we can do to help. Just before dinner, we did a snorkel survey at Grapetree Bay in front of the CCMI. (A fun yet horrifying fact – there are probably thousands of terrifying rock urchins just 20m off the sandy beach we walk daily).
Learning about the turtle conservation specific to the Cayman Islands was really interesting, as it is a Caribbean wide initiative to save the turtles. Lucy, our presenter, actually gave us some good news – the number of nesting sites in the Caymans has significantly increased since the 60’s; due to the fact that turtle conservation began in the 60’s and 70’s, and that it takes around 25 years for turtles to reach sexual maturity, we are finally seeing the effects of proper conservation and management of a species.
Later in the evening, we went to one of the three local establishments on the island and watched the basketball game. Some of us lost money. We got back to the CCMI around 10pm, as we have a full day of diving tomorrow. There are rumors that we will be heading back to Martha’s Finyard – hopefully that will be the case.
Until next time!
Leah Tavasi, McGill University
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