Name: Ashley Tryba
School: Temple University
Major: Environmental Studies
Program: Marine Protected Areas, Turks & Caicos
Last night we went camping at a really nice beach a group of us had cleaned up previously. By the time we got there, it was already pretty dark. We started a bonfire with pallets, walked all around this huge beach, and went for a little dip. The water was warmer than the air at night. We had sing-alongs. The best part was sleeping under the stars and seeing the sunrise between being woken up by buzzing bugs in my ears and passing back out. It actually got a little chilly at night.
We arrive at the coast guard and grab our snorkel stuff. As soon as we get on the trail, the views are amazing: light blue sandbars and mangrove islands to our left and deeper hues of blues. Plus, the lizard-laden shrubby greenery through which scraped against or legs as we did a little off-roading, and the rugged cliffs surrounding us were beautiful in and of themselves.
Finally, we got our booties on and trekked down a staircase into some stinky muck (yay for booties) and out into some shallows where we had just seen southern ray – or rather a Dasyatis americana – float by as a large round shadow. We finned and masked up and Chrissy lead us to the northern most tip of South Caicos. The mangroves housed many Cassiopea, their strange and beautiful bodies threatening to sting us from a distance. We also saw many anemone (Condylactes gigantea) and babies of our favorite fish. It was an easy snorkel as the current pushed us. The visibility was awesome and seeing the northern most tip was also incredible. When we got back to the beach, we messed around in the water a little until we decided to go again. The second time was slower and even more fun. I really like drift snorkels with a bunch of friends. I can’t much describe the feeling, except for maybe relating it to a feeling of belonging.
This morning was probably my favorite. I really want to go on more adventures like that before we leave. I know there are more places to see. I can’t believe we’re already supposed to be studying for final. Part of me knows I won’t realize how lucky I am until it’s over. All things come to pass. Every long, action-packed day here starts fast and dies with a beautiful sunset. The beautiful places and creatures I see don’t feel any more real 3 weeks in.