Today was another day in the water. We spent the morning teaching snorkeling technique and getting a bit closer to the reef right off Cormier - the place we are staying. We are blessed to be right on the beach. However, accessibility to this reef means that it is highly impacted by people, trash, and rain run-off. While it is not the most beautiful reef, it is a great place to learn to snorkel and free dive, and also a great place to point out a variety of reef organisms. I was joined with my fellow marine biologist and partner from Amiga Island, Sean, in guiding students in their snorkeling and dive skills, while also pointing out the local marine life. This is not just fun on the beach - we are learning the essential tools to be part of marine research. They are learning specific observation and identification skills that will enable them to be part of this study.
In the afternoon we welcomed our WJU videographer, Katie, as she arrived to spend the next week capturing key moments of our work. All the students are sooooooo excited that they will be featured in this video. Ok, maybe not quite, but I am very glad that Katie is here and that WJU cares enough about this work and our travel program to be sure we capture it. Should be a great way to make these moments and memories last as well.
We finished the day (at 9pm) with a couple lectures. In the midst of it all, students are taking time to read and study... remember class is in session! We are just blessed to be learning in an amazing place, on the ground, getting our hands wet! The first evening lecture was on preparing our "transect" lines as we prepare for data collection on the reefs tomorrow. Very practical. But after that, I had a short lecture planned for our BIOL371 "Biology As Missions" class. Only three of the students are taking that, but the entire group stuck around to hear more about how the entire Bible speaks of God's heart for hurting and helpless people. After a full day of being in the water, working and studying, our students still wanted to stick around to hear a bit more about Jesus.
I could not be more proud of our students and our team. They continue to come together to grow as students, marine researchers, and people. What a privilege to lead them!
More great underwater photos will be coming - they just take a bit more time to process form the underwater cameras. In the meantime...