Today the group started our morning with breakfast at the Almonds and Corals resort. The group all had a variety of choices for breakfast, all if which were delicous. After breakfast, the entire group got ready and drove just north to a spot where snorkeling is best. Just into the water you could already begin to see large clusters of coral. All around the coral were various types of tropical fish, gleaming with vibrant colors and different stripes and markings. Everyone seemed to really enjoy swimming around and observing this truly unique and complex ecosystem. Some of us had an up and close experience with the coral, as Brandon and I held a piece of fire coral. We had no idea, but the nematocyst within the living coral stung us on our hands, which lasted shortly but was extremely uncomfortable. After observing the coral reefs for a few hours, everyone piled back into the van and headed back to the hotel for lunch.
Lunch was served to us at the hotel, which was one of the best meals we’ve had so far on the trip. Everyone had a choice of sandwhich, a salad bar, and a delicous desert after the meal. After lunch, the group split up to do a few different things. Tommy and I hung back and relaxed after an exhausting day of snorkeling. Some of the others went into Puerto Viejo de Limon, to shop and look around the town a bit. Dr. Allen observed something quite interesting. At the famous surf spot Salsa Brava, he observed the sewage draining directly into the bay with people swimming just a few hundred yards away from it. The others described the town as a beachy, off the radar town with Afro-Caribbean influences all around it. Chris and Kyle napped for a bit then headed out to beach to enjoy possibly their last chance to swim and enjoy the Caribbean sun. They swam a bit and threw a frisbee around the beach when Dr. Allen and Brandon met them on the beach.
Dr. Allen and Brandon rented some body boards and headed out to catch some waves. The waves were fun, fast, but relatively small, as they enjoyed themselves out on the water. While Brandon was out in the water, he felt a sand dollar on his feet. He pulled it out of the water and set it on the board, looking at the brown outer shell with four holes on top for breathing. The entire bottom was like a red velvet carpet with fibers, which moved as the sand dollar breathed. They talked about how interesting and amazing it was to find and hold something so unique and alive. After finishing up on the beach, everyone freshened up and headed down to the hotel restaurant for dinner. Everyone seemed to have a great time today as most of us had never had a chance to snorkel. Our time is short here, but all of us are thouroughly enjoying the rest of our time here.