Session ID/Sun poisoning
Yesterday we went to our first session ID, which is when we go snorkeling around various reefs and sand bars and identify things that we see. We were out for a total of about 5 hours though, and even though I applied sunblock twice, I got pretty fried. I applied sunblock on the back of my legs, but because they were constantly exposed to the sun due to the snorkeling position, they're currently really raw, red, and painful. Sitting down hurts. I did wear a Rash Guard (it's like underarmour for the water) that covered my shoulders, arms and back, so I'm not burned anywhere else except on my legs. The island we went to is a protected sanctuary for iguanas, grasses, and other indigenous animals/plants, and was originally a settlement of the natives that lived in the Turks and Caicos. It gets slightly more rainfall than South Caicos, so there was a lot more vegetation, and the plants were green and lush.
We explored the island for about an hour, and then we had lunch on the beach. While on the beach, I found a giant starfish that we picked up and examined.
We also learned about the piles of conch shells on the beach. Conch is one of the main fishing industries in this area, and people have been fishing here for hundreds of years. The black rock you see us standing on is actually oxidized conch shells that have hardened and become rock like after sedimentation deposits and sun exposure. The piles of conch are called midden, and were located all over the place.
These were some of the biggest conch shells I'd ever seen, and when we picked up some from the water, we actually saw a live conch. They're pretty cute, they look kinda like Muppets with two googly eyes. The water was so clear you could see piles of conch shells just underneath the surface, and the color of the water changed as you went further out, depending on the depth. In shallower places, the water temp was close to about 85 degrees!
Later after learning more about the different types of grasses, corals and algae, we went on a free snorkel to a deeper reef. We saw many of the different types of plants we had been talking about, and we also saw a HUGE stingray!