A Dip into the Dark

Posted: November 19, 2012

It seems like just yesterday that we arrived here in Bocas, now a little over two months ago. While the time has flown by, we’ve packed in quite a lot since we’ve been here. Our countless snorkeling expeditions, numerous field exercises, a visit to a chocolate farm, and an exploration of the indigenous communities throughout Bocas del Toro only scratch the surface of what we’ve been up to during the past two months. We had the privilege of hosting SFS’s President, Jim Cramer, and the Vice President of Enrollment and Marketing, Leslie Granese. It was a true pleasure to meet them, see their enthusiasm firsthand, and share with them the excitement of our time here in Panama thus far.

While it seems like we had exhausted just about every possible exciting adventure, the other night a few of my peers and I experienced something entirely new. Trevor, Andrea, and I, along with Program Manager Marta Calosso, Program Director John Claydon, and intern Zach, went on a night snorkel for the first time since we’ve been here. We were all very excited because it had been something we’d been meaning to do for a while. After taking some time to digest after dinner, we all went down to the dock, donned our wetsuits (mainly to keep a rogue jelly fish from sneaking up on us), put on our snorkeling gear, turned on our underwater lights, and slipped into the perfectly calm black water.

What had become familiar terrain for us was completely transformed. The first aberration we noticed was that the toad fish (a large, strange-looking fish that likes to hide under things and make a loud moo-ing noise) were much more active. The noises they made were nearly deafening, and we could physically feel the vibrations from their moo-ing. We also saw tons of banded coral shrimp, a baby octopus, a moray eel, and a green-eyed burrfish, most of which we don’t get to see during the day. We all turned our lights off and basked in the bioluminescence – no matter how many times I witness this wonder, I still find it captivating.

Even after two incredible months here there are still new things to see and adventures to embark upon. I can’t wait to soak up our final four weeks here in Bocas and to discover more of the many things that make these islands so special.