Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Night dives, Landfills and Carnival!

On Valentine's Day we we for a dive at night! We have been out snorkeling and swimming in the dark but diving in the dark is so different and so neat! I'll do my best to describe it: pretty much floating in the dark. You can't really see anything except for where your flash light is pointing or where some one Else's points. The only thing that I saw at night that I didn't see during the day were tarpons. They are very large sliver fish that hunt at night. They have adapted to divers being in at night and even use people to their advantage. When we shine our lights on fish it often blinds or really confuses them. Tarpons use this time to attack and eat them. So these very large, 4-5 ft long, fat, fish have no problem swimming close to people and sometimes even bumping into people to make us shine our lights. Needless to say they're pretty scary! We didn't see any other new fish or organisms but everything acts different at night. So parrot fish, which we see all the time, make mucus packets around them to hide from predators. Also the coral feed at night so they stick out little wavy like tentacles to catch zooxanthelle and things in the water to eat. So they look really different!

On Friday we took a field trip for our 'Culture and Environmental History of Bonaire' class. We went to a waste water treatment plant and a landfill. The waste water treatment plant is the first one on the island. Before this they would just dump sewage water and everything in fields and in the woods..which seeps into the ground and the ocean. aka gross...The landfill made everyone either want to cry or actually cry. Typically waste and trash is put in a hole in the ground that has a liner in it so the trash doesn't cause too much harm to the environment. Here there are just piles. Its separated by appliances-washing machines, ovens, refrigerators etc. but gas isn't taken out of these so things can spontaneously cumbust anytime- rubbish, wood and trees like branches, rubber-tires- and glass. The only thing that is recycled on the island is glass..but its really just put into one big pile separate from the trash. This was so sad to see. And there were goats everywhere eating the trash and stuff. It was also terrible to think about the iguanas and goats that feed on this trash and on the plants that are growing in sewage water and then people eat them..yuck!

The past few days the island has been celebrating Carnival. I had no idea what to expect so its been really fun seeing so much cultural activities going on and all the Bonairians out to celebrate. On Sunday there was a parade in town. Local businesses and groups made floats and there was lots of dancing! I was surprised to see the age dynamics. Most of the people in the parade were a bit older..everyone was drinking and dancing and singing and it was so fun.
Monday began our week break. Most people started diving for their independent research projects. It was the first time we dove by our selves....well not alone we always have a buddy but it was just the two of us no teachers or groups or anything. It was funn
Tuesday was the best day yet. A few of us began by shopping in town and the rest of the day was spent at the beach. There aren't a lot of sandy beaches around here. Everything is rock and dead coral. On Tuesday we found a little tiny patch were about 7 of us can sit..the others sat in the water and we kind of rotated. Its been really fun having time to just relax out side.
Tuesday night was the last night of Carnival..the same parade from Sunday went around town again late at night...everyone was just way more drunk this time and everyyyyone was dancing in the street not just the parade people. The parade ended at a soccer stadium, for the culmination of the holiday the burn a big doll, its called a MoMo. Theres some traditional stories, none which I cant remember sorry. But I'm pretty sure the whole island was there. It was really cool! The doll was filled with fireworks which was also fun!
Today was another day in the sun. We all sat on the dock and made hemp bracelets!
Also I got a hair cut...about to my shoulders!
Family comes tomorrow!!!

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