My time in Roatan has been great. The divemasters, boat captains, kitchen staff, housekeepers, well, pretty much everyone here is fantastic. They are all incredibly friendly and fun. Project work has been slow the last couple weeks, which is quite unfortunate. In case you didn’t know, or was wondering why I’m not in LL at the moment, I extended my time here 2 more weeks and now fly back the 25th. The reasoning for this was because I had a couple really successful weeks right before I was set to leave, and didn’t want to go back when I was finally getting some good data. However, as Noel Luck would have it, I haven’t been able to capture any of the turtles I have seen recently.
I did finally start seeing them a bit more the past few days. In fact, I stumbled upon a nice, resting juvenile yesterday right in front of the resort while I was out on a fun dive during my mandatory day off (Sabbath rules from LLU if you weren’t aware). Anyway, I looked up from my usual photo hunt and saw the little guy resting under a ledge right before the start of the
reef wall. I think I spooked him a bit, because he got up and tried to swim away, but was obviously hindered by a massive remora stuck to his shell. I followed the turtle for several minutes into the shallows, and was amused to see him flipping, swatting, and turning, making every attempt to rid himself of the persistent hitchhiker. Finally, it was able to get free and bolted off into the shallows. Because the winds are picking back up again lately, the surge was bad and I couldn’t get far over the coral heads. I lost sight of the turtle, but noticed the hungry remora looking for its next victim to latch on to. The look in its eyes had me a bit too weary, and after countless stories of the fish swimming up divers’ shorts and latching on to whatever they can find, I opted to swim away as well.
That’s not to say the turtles aren’t around, as guests are still reporting sightings to me almost every day. It is good, though, because I am getting reports of resightings from many people, so at least I’m still gathering data. I really hope that the divemasters and
guests can continue reporting to me even while I’m gone. It’s easy to get the reports when I am here in person, building relationships and having conversations with the people, but the interest in the project fades when the researcher is not around. I already noticed that reports from FIR have essentially ceased since I left. I made some posters, though, and I think the RMP may print an article about the work, and how to ID turtles and pass the info back to me, so hopefully I will still have luck when I leave.
I’m sure I sound like a broken record, but it is frustrating being here and not collecting the data I hoped to compile. I am hopeful that I will have enough data to publish at least some of the work, even if I am unable to support/disprove my current hypotheses.
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