And thus our adventures in Belize have ended. We are blogging from the Atlanta Airport and miss sunny and sandy Calabash Caye already. Spending three days on a Caribbean island was the perfect end to our Belizean adventure. At the Calabash Caye Field Station we performed three Rapid Ecological Assessments (REAs), snorkeled, played volleyball, SCUBA dove, ate more wonderfully delicious food, and had a ridiculous bonfire.
The three REAs we performed were for the mangrove swamp, coral reef, and mangrove lagoon channel environments. First, we analyzed the mangrove forest for the number of crab holes and the number of trees and their sizes. We found the expected distribution of different mangrove species, as well as LOTS of mosquitoes. Next, we examined a patch reef around Little Calabash for invertebrate and coral numbers. Finally, we swam through the mangrove lagoon channel to assess the environment’s health through sponge diversity and richness. This different area was really cool to look at, compared to snorkeling on the reef.
We played volleyball against the nearby Coast Guard station officers and were easily destroyed. But, when we mixed the teams (CG and students on both teams) we had fairly matched teams and a great time.
Through sun burns, mosquito bites, and a little bit of dehydration (the most dangerous thing in the rainforest, and apparently the islands) we found lots of fish, echinoderms, corals, sponges, and new friends. Although we are sad to leave… Nope, there is no although. We are sad to leave, but we’re glad to have a few of amenities of modern life (flush toilets and effective showers).
We hope you enjoyed keeping up with our adventures! Hopefully you can have your own!
Raza Ahmad, Julie Frank, Emily Sillcox, and Andy VanDeusen