The team enthusiastically climbed down the ladder from the gazebo into the water. They spread out and began snorkelling in the shallows. Nikita, our director, pointed out the mangrove seeds called propagules. These seeds can remain attached to their parent tree for a year before dropping off. They then float in the water until they shed their encasings, only then beginning to sink to take up root and grow. Just as the
students were about to turn away someone noticed a mangrove crab crawling up one of the propagules. Everyone came around to check it while trying to figure out what it was doing. It is common to see mangrove crabs floating on leaves but everyone was unsure of what it was doing on the propagule.
The next thing to be pointed out was the sargassum algae commonly found in mangroves. The sargassum often houses small marine creatures in its fronds. Luckily
After YME's encounter with the sea hare, the search began. The students had been challenged to find a sea cucumber. The enthusiastic YME members immediately began their quest, all wanting to be the first to find one. The sea cucumber was found and the students were eager to talk about their knowledge of it.
Too soon the morning came to an end. The students slowly stepped out of the mangroves, much less eagerly than when they had gone in. They proceeded to pack their bags in preparation for the bus pick-up at 12:30. As we walked along the dock back to the parking lot, the students kept their eyes open for fish swimming among the mangrove roots. The last find for the day were a couple of juvenile trumpetfish despite their slender and hard-to-see bodies.