Saturday, March 14, 2020

Thursday, March 12, 2020: Day 6

After doing some exciting data analysis and number crunching, we were hungering for another taste of the ocean. As we headed out of the student center towards the boats, I could feel the exhilaration course through me as this was my first-time snorkeling and I was a tad nervous.

After doing some exciting data analysis and number crunching, we were hungering for another taste of the ocean. As we headed out of the student center towards the boats, I could feel the exhilaration course through me as this was my first-time snorkeling and I was a tad nervous.

As we arrived to the Coral Restoration Project Headquarters, cement creations could be seen on the land behind the mangroves. My favorite was the curious stone octopus as pictured below.


These cement creations were used as the bases to restore the coral that was found suffering and dying around the Bocas Del Toro region. By letting the cement cure and be covered with algae, coral can use it as a strong foundation to create a new colony.

The Coral Restoration Project was just recently granted the recognition of a “Hope Spot,” which it clearly deserved as the extensive cloning and micro-fragmentation techniques were doing wonders for the native fauna of Panama. Once we had learned about the project itself, we were ready to dive in (pun intended) and look at some coral up close.

After suiting up in our snorkel gear, we jumped in and below the azure of the ocean surface was a whole city being built piece by piece. Different shapes and sizes of coral covered the uneven surfaces creating a small metropolis for the iridescent fish weaving between the structures. As we swam, the coral seemed to ebb and flow with each movement of the ocean currents, while still shining in the bright sunlight.

Alas, once it was time to go we reluctantly swam to the dock and drove away, saying goodbye to the city of coral and its beautiful, working citizens.


--
Daniel F.

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