Busy day today. Up early and a breakfast of borrowed PB&J since we hadn’t had time to shop yesterday. Then out on the boat… the three of us along with a driver, Heather. Pretty rough conditions… overcast skies and bouncing along big waves. We made it out to Hospital Point on Isla Solarte and managed to tie onto a mooring buoy. It was really not ideal conditions for collecting… big waves, low visibility and then it started to rain which made the visibility even worse and made it surprisingly cold. I quit long before the other two because I was starting to shiver in the water. It turned out to be relatively easy to find the two species of Echinometra (lucunter and viridis). There were also a fair number of Diadema antillarum which are really a pain to collect since they are huge and sharp. Jarrod got a nice one into our collection vessel (colander) with salad tongs. But we couldn’t find any Eucidaris. So we searched, and searched, and searched. We saw a lot of pretty fish, interesting corals (including fire coral… best to avoid that one!) but not Eucidaris. We finally gave up and headed back.
Laetitita and I walked down the beach to a restaurant for lunch and hit the jackpot. Turns out the restaurant had only very recently opened and so after we ordered our (cheap and delicious) food the owner came over and explained that she was teaching the kitchen staff how to make all the new dishes and would we like to sample them for free? So she brought out little trays of all kinds of amazing and delicious things… like fish/yucca/cassava balls in passionfruit sauce and spiced plantain patties. Then we loaded up at the grocery store and headed back to the station.
A lot of labwork this afternoon including dissecting/plating samples from the urchins, replating some samples from the Pacific, and preparing tubes for crab sampling. I also tried (but failed) to set the lab on fire. Alexandra Hiller arrived at the station today, so she and Laetitita will start looking for crabs tomorrow morning.
After the lab work was done, Alexandra and I headed downtown for dinner at a delicious Indian restaurant. Jarrod was supposed to join us for dinner but got “stuck” in a bar for a few hours first. We had some fascinating conversation about evolution, adaption, microbes, host phylogenies etc. I think the the people next to us thought it was a bit odd.