Today we began to officially survey the marine protected areas and contrast the fish and coral life between protected and non protected areas. Our first survey was in a coral reef alongside Long Cay called Shark Alley. We set up lines of about 30 m following the coral, and then examine within two meters on either side of the line for types of fish, sea urchins, and coral. I was in charge of writing down the different types of fish that I saw on my side of the line, and how many there were. While we were taking up the line along an area, I happened to look up, and there was a reef shark about four feet from my face! Needless to say, I was more than a little surprised, and kind of sad I didn't have my camera. Reef sharks are considerably more intimidating than the nurse sharks I'd seen previously, and I was glad that it wasn't too curious. It sort of followed our group around for a while, then headed off somewhere else. Later on we had an afternoon snorkel, during which we saw a BIG nurse shark, and one of the staff had an encounter with three reef sharks.
Also, last night we had another night snorkel, during which we saw three turtles! Two little ones and a great big green turtle, who's shell was at least a meter across. The two little turtles swam away rather rapidly, but the big turtle stuck around until someone laid a hand on its shell, and then it scurried away. One of the girls managed to get a picture of one of the little turtles, so here it is:
And to finish off this post, another picture of the beautiful sunset: