On Wednesday we did one last trip to the reef aboard the SeaStar. The SeaStar goes to Michelmas Cay first... and I must say I was rather disappointed. The water was terribly murky and the sea life not particularly impressive compared to the other sites we had visited. The only highlight of the trip was that Ben finally saw an orange Clown Anemonefish (Nemo).
[Clown Anemonefish -- Katya]
After lunch we got a naturalist talk while we moved on to the next site. We had spent two weeks studying the reef before we went plus the boys had already sat through two naturalist talks so Ben and Nik were pretty zoned out and staring over the side of the ship. When the naturalist brought out the pictures and asked what the first item was Nik piped up "Brain Coral." There were probably 30 pictures in his presentation. Nik got 27 of them right. I guess he had been paying attention after all!
The second site, Hastings Reef, was the best site we had visited. Spectacular cliffs, grottos, and caves teemed with corals, fish, and invertebrates.
[Anthias -- Katya]
Despite choppy water and strong currents Nik wanted to go on and on. He was absolutely enchanted:
[Hastings Reef -- Nik]
Ben and I ran into Jess who worked on the boat and she gave Ben the most amazing tour. We saw Sweetlips, a Dog Faced Puffer fish, and she helped Ben free dive down and touch a Giant Clam.
"It felt like touching the universe. It made it so real." Ben told me afterwards.
[Hastings Reef -- Ben]
Nik fell in love with Jess. He hung out with her on the glass-bottom boat tour. He sat with her at lunch. He talked her ear off the entire trip back to port telling her about how he was going to superglue rocks together and make his house into a ski resort with a moat around it: