Saturday morning we had our last breakfast on Roatan. It was an amazing week filled with adventure. We learned so much about the reef ecosystem and made quite a few friends during experiences we will never forget! A special thanks is in order for Jennifer Keck, the education director at RIMS, Jack Seubert, our teacher, naturalist, and guide for the trip, Frank and Dean (pictured below) for showing us a good time while at sea and keeping us safe on our dives, Frank Morrow at A Water Odessey SCUBA for providing us with a camera mask and for being our trusted PADI SCUBA instructor at Lycoming College, and finally all of the staff at Anthony's Key Resort for providing such a memorable and pleasant experience for all of us! Thank you so much! Here's looking back a some of the memories!
Friday was the day everyone looked forward to the dolphin encounter. But first, we dove to 110ft to explore the wreck of the Aguila. She was sunk by Anthony's Key Resort in 1997. The ship is approximately 200ft long and was broken up into three pieces by hurricane Mitch in 1998. Exciting stuff! Finally, things settled down after lunch as we mingled with the locals in the town of West End.
An artist's painting of the sunken ship before it was hit by the hurricane.
The descent into the deep
Black groupers populated this dive site. Some were 4ft long!
First glances of the Aguila's hull.
The ship's resident green moray eel pays us a visit before returning to its lair.
This yellow grouper sat on the bottom right next to us.
Another shot of the Aguila
The ship's mast towered towards the surface.
Now in shallow waters we hit up the dolphin encounter.
Good behavior has its rewards.
Swimming with the dolphins!
There was quite the selection of bars and shops in West End.
The highlight of today was defiantly the zip line! Look below for individual pictures taken by the staff. What a adrenaline rush! That night we also did our night dive! The bioluminescence light show was breathtaking!
As close as Dr. Zimmerman got to the zip line. He opted out this year.
Diving into the sunset
This Gold Spotted Eel was one of the many nocturnal creatures we came across during our night dive.
Wednesday was day full of diving! We woke up early for our shark dive, which was about 2 miles off the coast in about 70ft of water. The dive site's name is "cara cara" which when translated means face to face. An appropriate name for a shark encounter! The current underwater there was very strong, but our focus was on the sharks! After lunch we had a classroom session and followed up with another dive. Dinner was served on Anthony's Key with a ton of festivities afterword, including the fire dance!
The Caribbean Reef Sharks "Carcharhinus perezi" circle us with watchful eyes.
They swam within touching distance, though none of us dared to do so.
Brief video of the shark dive
The second dive of the day
A school of common reef squid "Sepioteuthis sepioidea".
The sea turtles were actually quite numerous! Here is a Hawksbill sea turtle "Eretmochelys imbricata" feeding on sponges.
The walk to the party at Anthony's Key is always very scenic!
Tuesday was quite the day. We had a few classroom sessions and then snorkeled through the mangroves and sand flats next to Man-o-War key. Later we dove at Wayne's Place (a dive site) and finished up with a night snorkel on Bailey's Key.
Preparing for the boat trip to Man-o-War Key
French Angelfish "Pomacanthidae paru" in the waters around the mangroves at Man-o-War Key. You can see the Mangroves below
After leaving the Mangroves, we took a short ride to the nearby sand
flats to collect some organisms.
Here we are passing around a Queen
Conch "Strombus gigas.
Our guide and naturalist Jack explains sea cucumber physiology. Note the water coming out of the animal's "vascular system"!
A few organisms we observed were brittle starfish and crabs
Lionfish "Pterois miles" are an invasive species native to the Pacific Ocean that prey on smaller fish of the reef. Here is one during our dive Tuesday. Thankfully we didn't see too many as they are a harmful species.
There were Caribbean Octopus "Octopus briareus" in the shallows surrounding Bailey's Key during the night snorkel. Super cool!