Wednesday, August 17, 2016

It's complicated...

The summer is officially over, and so the time has come to sit my behind on a hard seat and start typing out what actually happened during my stay in Honduras. Since I arrived back home, I went through a few days of wondering whether the trip was all a coma induced dream, but fortunately the tan proves otherwise! Which means, I have some serious writing to do... During the summer we gathered lots of data, and row after row of an excel sheet was filled with test diameter measurements, weights, temperatures, and of course, numbers indicating how many long spines had moved. Before heading back home I had stared through 133 five-minute videos of urchins being spooked out of their spines, in slow motion, silently wishing I was some software developer so I could make a program to track the movement of the spines on a video (hint hint!) and count how many moved and to what extent.

Life is made for living! 

Just to recap from an earlier post, we were looking at how changing temperature might affect the predator avoidance response (PAR) of the urchins, which in its simplest form is described as the movement of the longest spines in response to a shadow. The shadow for a simple organism like the urchin could mean there is a predator around, and the toxin filled spines are designed to deter any hungry wanderers. We also included two other factors that could have an effect on the response: reef material and reef complexity. We used concrete breeze blocks as artificial reef material and collected broken off reef rubble directly from the urchin collection site for a natural effect, assembled as either low complexity with no hiding spots or as high complexity with a shelter. Now, you might wonder why we used changing temperatures and how are reef material and complexity relevant to anything, really. All across the worlds oceans, the sea surface temperatures (SST) are changing with global warming, and in some parts of the world like around the Central American countries and down the west coast of South America, El Nino events can cause dramatic changes in the temperature by increasing the SST by up to 4 degrees Celcius. It doesn't sound like much, but consider yourself for a moment; your normal body temperature is around 36.6 degrees, and if you go even two degrees above that you are most definitely sick. And if you go up to 40 degrees, your body functions start to fail and it is vital you get your temperature down. Now, most primitive animals such as urchins do not have a system for regulating their own body temperature, and they rely on a their environmental temperature to remain relatively stable to allow for their metabolic processes to function normally. We tried to understand how, if at all, the increases in water temperature might affect one of their most vital survival mechanisms, the PAR. 

Elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, provides shelter for a multitude of fish,
while increasing the complexity of the reefs.
Loss of reef complexity is another issue faced by most coral reefs around the globe. Overfishing, extensive tourism, bleaching events and diseases, they all contribute towards flattening the reefs and killing off complex corals. As an example, the elkhorn coral Acropora palmata is a branching coral that provides shelter for juvenile fish and urchins alike, and it has been on the decline in the Caribbean for decades. People have tried artificial reefs as a solution to increase complexity and to provide corals some substrate to settle on. On Banco Capiro, which is the reef we used for this study, the density of urchins in depths below 10 meters is higher than anywhere else in the Caribbean, and this could be due to it being one of the healthiest systems around, with high complexity and a protected status that prevents fishing and other damaging activities. However, it is impossible to tell whether it is the presence of the complex corals that allows the urchins to thrive, or if the urchins clearing out settling ground gives the corals a competitive edge over the algae. Most likely, it has been a combination of a lucky location and good timing, sprinkled with a fortunate twist of fate, that has made this particular reef so successful. This is why testing for effects of reef material along with the complexity level was an important part of our research, as it can help give guidance for developing reef conservation management plans.

A low complexity artificial environment.
A natural high complexity a.k.a.
Casa de Sanni 
Now, to the results. So far, I have 8 replicates of each of the "treatments" we used for this study, making it a total of 120 data points contributing towards the data analysis. I have gone through an initial, rudimentary analysis of the data, and as of yet the only significant result I have is to do with complexity. There is an increase in the amount of spines moved in response to the shadow when the urchins were in a low complexity environment, and it means the urchins would spend a lot more energy fending off predators if there was nowhere to hide, and thus taking away time that could be spent foraging. It makes sense, of course, and I'm going to use a human example again: If you were in a forest in a bikini, being eaten by mosquitoes, you would be using up a lot of your energy swatting them off, rather than focusing on finding the tasty blueberries. It would take far longer to get enough for a pie, than if you were wearing long pants and a jumper! 

Complexity between High and Low treatments shows a significant difference
in the amount of long spines moved in response to the shadow stimulus.

I have another 2 replicates of each treatment to analyse, and then I have planned to do another run through all of the videos in a randomised order to double check that my results hold. There is a lot of work to be done yet, with writing up 30-50 pages of thesis, but I have a good head start to the gang who will be doing their projects in uni this year, as I have most of my methods written up, my initial results, and they haven't even started yet! But despite having the urge to sit back and relax, I am determined to get this done in good time before Christmas exams, just so that I can enjoy the holidays ;) 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Work hard, play hard!

Family fun day in Punta Sal with this amazing lot!
Thanks Rich for taking the pic!
While Tela Marine is very concentrated on conserving the unique reef systems submerged in the bay, it’s not all work and no fun for us. Every week, on Tuesday (ie. the Opwall Sunday Funday) we do a trip to the town of Tela, for those who want to go. It always begins with taking the bus, which for me is definitely the best part of the trip! Seeing the yellow, run down, American-style school bus crawling down the gravel street dotted with potholes and bumps, we all get up from the shadows and assemble next to the gate, waiting for it to come to a stop and let us on. Sitting on the worn leather seats and looking out the window, while Bob Marley plays a little too loud and the heads of other passengers bob in the same rhythm, it’s easy to feel like the real world is a million miles away. The drive takes us through small villages, until after approximately 30 minutes we would get off and head to town centre. We follow the straighter than straight streets to the “main street”, with multiple banks, few clothes shops and “markets”, and a souvenir shop  overflowing with all sorts of clothes and bags and wooden figures, jungle knives and ashtrays, earrings and massive necklaces. Despite being full of everything, I did not manage to find anything worth buying there... (sorry!) There is also a bakery, on the corner where we meet the main street, and it is always a must stop before going into the supermarket, which is the main reason for going to Tela in the first place. Because after stuffing your face with the largest, most delicious donut, it is likely you won’t buy as much snacks in the shop! The first time we went to town, we also went to a place called Mayavista. It is a hotel on top of a hill, and it has the most amazing view from the roof top terrace! Enjoying a cold beer from a cardboard Coke cup while soaking up the view over the Caribbean Sea and bathing in the sun, in my books that day scored quite high! 
Oh yea, and we made it to one of the biggest newspapers in Honduras!
Go coral reef conservation,Tela Marine Research Centre and Operation Wallacea! 

One of our Tuesdays did end up a little different, however, by the idea of Antal, the manager of Tela Marine. The only five star resort in Honduras is only 15 minutes drive away, with a PGA golf course and a stretch of beach littered with loungers. Apparently, they needed some non-honduran looking “customers” to do a photo shoot for a brochure. Guess who were available? We were picked up at 7am - despite the cries of resistance for having to get up that early on our only day off – to catch the golden hour of sunlight for the photos, but it was a rainy morning and so once we got there we were escorted to a high ceilinged, air conditioned restaurant area, where the nicest breakfast of the season was served to us along with unlimited amounts of coffee (the coffee was needed, trust me...). We were told we would be waiting for the rain to pass before any pictures would be taken, although they were just casually taking photos of us stuffing our faces with freshly scrambled eggs and slices of juicy watermelon. Classy, I’m sure. After the rain finally moved on, we headed to the beach to get some “action pictures” of the activities they offer, such as kayaking and paddle boarding. BEST. CURE. EVER. The hangovers started to subside as we were playing in the water, forgetting about the cameras on the beach, gracefully falling off kayaks and laying like flatfish on body boards, tossed about by the waves. I’m sure the photos are not short of action, but just how “5-star-material” they are, that’s a different story altogether...

The day was not over after the frolicks in the water, and the best was yet to come. Two words: GOLF CARTS! We took off to the golf course in the carts to take some golfing and foot-golfing photos (yes it’s a thing), yet I have a feeling the guy leading us there was not so sure about our appearances... no one had prepared their luggage with “golf gear” ie. polo shirts and good shoes, but luckily the boys managed to scrap together enough pieces to make four almost presentable golfers. First, though, we did the foot golf. It is exactly as it sounds, foot ball combined with golf: you try to kick a foot ball into a hole on the golf course. Now, of course the hole is large enough to fit a foot ball, so it was hidden behind a mound in the golf course as to not get in the way of real golf. In teams of four girls and four boys, they took some photos as we pretended to play the game. I even got it in the hole once! The amount of attempts doesn’t count ;) After the real golf photos were taken as well, we raced the golf carts back to the hotel and sat in the lounge waiting for more. We watched the bartender make a dozen drinks, blended, icy, refreshing looking drinks... There was no shortage of drool. Dibs were called and even though we had to pretend to be in couples, as soon as the cocktails were mentioned no one cared. Refreshments was all we wanted, as they day had been long and hot, and if it meant having to drink your drink (they were non alcoholic we’re pretty sure) in front of a camera next to someone else so be it. And they were so worth it... All in all, the photo shoot was a hilarious experience, with no instructions from the camera guys, and us just being us, but hopefully they got what they wanted. I wouldn’t count on it though, I mean, they didn’t even do our make up! But I guess that’s what Photoshop is for...

I have also managed some more snorkelling during my time here, in between emptying and filling tanks, but instead of writing about it I decided to just show you some photos! Enjoy! 

Millie takes some seriously good underwater photos! This is from
a different time than the rest of the photos, though location is the same.
Can you spot the Diadema?

A Four-eye Butterflyfish
A good hiding spot for an urchin ;)
And below an assortment on photos, too many to be captioning them all! In the pictures you can find a porkfish, some christmastree worms, a teeny tiny squid, a juvenile french angelfish, and a spotfin butterflyfish, among other things. 

Now, the time has come to finally start to wrap things up here in Honduras, at least my part of it... It has been by far one of the most amazing experiences of my life so far, and I sincerely hope my travelling scientist life does not end here. From carrying ridiculous amounts of water in 25 litre canisters every day for nearly 6 weeks, to ending up in a national newspaper as part of a research team, I wouldn’t trade a day away. As cliché as it sounds, I have met some pretty awesome people here who I genuinely hope will not become strangers once the luggage is finally unpacked and the laundry is done.

One more post to come, to bring to you the results of my research here and what we have found out! Watch this space...

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Reef Invaders

The prettiest pest I've ever seen
Probably one of the biggest projects ongoing on the marine sites in Honduras is the lionfish project. The lionfish is an invasive species in the Caribbean, originating from the Indo-Pacific, and most likely introduced here as a pet that got too big and greedy for a home aquarium. Their numbers have exploded, and they have now been found everywhere from north of Florida to the east coast of Brazil. Even the Mediterranean has been invaded, although how the lionfish got there is likely a whole different story. The Pez de Leon, as it is known in Spanish, is causing havoc wherever it goes with its sharp venomous spines that make it an unappealing snack for most predators. I mean, if you can choose between biting into a fluffy muffin or a cactus, I know which one I’d go for. To add to its fine qualities as an invader, a lionfish is not too picky about its own diet, eating pretty much anything bitesized and unlucky to be around when their stomachs grumble – little brother might want to stay a safe distance away! With no predators specialized in hunting them and by eating anything that comes their way, the lionfish are causing drastic changes in Caribbean reef dynamics.

Capturing lionfish is tricky business,
but not because they are fast. 

The projects here concentrate a lot around lionfish behaviour. There are projects that are undertaken in the lab, where a lionfish is provided a choice between a chemical cue, where another lionfish is put in a blackened bucket with small holes in it below water level, and a visual cue, where a see through, non-holey bucket is a temporary home to another lionfish. The test object is then given 30 minutes to choose whether it would like to hang out with the one it can smell, or the one it can see, and the trials are recorded with a GoPro. Why? Because currently the only method used for trying to reduce the numbers of lionfish is culling. If the lionfish were only hanging out up to 30 meters down from the surface that would be fine, but unfortunately they are known to have massive populations living in as deep as 300 meters. The few that we can see during our snorkels and dives are probably just the rejects and inbetweeners of Lionfish City, bullied out of town to settle in small groups planning a takeover of the world in a Pinky and the Brain style... The chemical cue vs. visual cue experiments are hoping to provide ideas for developing new traps for catching the lionfish, because culling can only do so much, especially as we cannot dive to 300 meters... not with a small budget anyway! Once the venomous spines are removed, the white flesh of lionfish is as tasty as any fish on the market, if not better. We got to try a ceviche made from the lionfish used in the lab and it was mouth-wateringly delicious! I know what you’re thinking, using the fish to contribute to their own demise by making them lab rats and eating them when the job is done – a bit cruel. But they are a delicious pest!

George getting up close and personal
in his hunt for the otoliths.
In vivo research of lionfish consists mainly of recording them in their natural habitat, and trying to find out where and how they prefer to hang out. Most times when I have seen a lionfish while out snorkelling, it has been floating alone behind a ledge of reef, looking serene and still as if meditating, but they are also known to aggregate in groups of two or more. In fact, the last time I saw lionfish we counted 8 individuals under one rock ledge! One aspect of the lionfish ecology research is to figure out if there are any differences in their activity levels depending on whether they are hanging out with their posse, or if they are lone rangers. This can also provide yet more knowledge for development of future traps, and especially their strategic placement on the reefs. If you think about it, there is no point leaving a mouse trap in the middle of the floor, if the mice always travel by the wall...

Gutted. Ugh.
Before the fish are given to the restaurant in the Beach Club, most of them are studied by dissection as well. These dissections determine their “normal” diet, and as part of Team Lionfish has also been to Utila (another site in Honduras), they are attempting to find out any if there are any dietary differences between the populations. Juvenile damselfish in Tela might be in a league of their own in terms of palatability, or just not as available as a food source in Utila. During the dissections otoliths are also removed from the fish. These are small, flat and circular bones in the head of the fish, and they grow in a similar fashion to trees, leaving annual growth rings that allow researchers to age the fish. Together with information about gonads from the same fish, the researchers can determine if the fish mature within the same timeframe in all populations, of if the environment might have an effect on the transition age from a juvenile to a fully grown adult with a need to breed. Of course, all this could also be governed genetically, which is why small clips are taken from the fins of each fish during the dissections for further DNA analysis in the States.

So, all this put together makes one impressive operation in an attempt to learn more about the Evil Invader of the Caribbean, and most importantly how to control it, because the lionfish have no self-control - in a year, one lionfish can produce up to 2,000,000 eggs. That’s one hell of a litter! Currently, it is more like trying to kill a colony of ants using just a pair of tweezers, but fortunately from what I have seen more and more people are picking up their tweezers. And the more people get concerned about the issue, the more resources it will gain, and the more advances will happen. And who knows, maybe in a year or two, instead of hankering for a dirty kebab after an all nighter, we’ll be looking forward to a plate with a nice crispy breaded lionfish and some plantain chips... NOM!

Just casually invading. Nothing to see here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Day in, Day out.

Can you count them all?
I have found myself a new office! Comfy couches and a beach view, with plugs and wifi and most importantly not too many people around! However, the wifi can also a little too easily distract me from the reason I needed a quiet place... This place offers me the perfect place for analysing my videos. Each day we do trials, we add 6 more videos for me to analyse for my dissertation. Each video is approximately four and a half minutes long, and include three predator simulations, and each of these videos take me about 15-20 minutes to analyse. The analysis consists of taking a still image of the beginning of the video where the long spines are easy to see and counting each one of them. Some of the urchins are easy with only 30ish long spines, but others go up to the fifties... This is the easy part of the analysis, because the next thing I do is slow down the video and skip to a point which is marked to tell me we’re about to put the shadow on the tank. Usually, the urchins react to the shadow by wiggling their long spines in an attempt to deter the alleged predator. The reaction is more of a twitch really, and it is during that twitch that I need to count how many of the long spines I can see moving. Sounds easy, right? To a certain extent it is very simple, but when the urchins decide to wiggle one spine 90 degrees back and forth it is incredibly hard to keep track which ones I’ve already counted – even with slow down to only 0.125 seconds of video per each second spent watching! I have used pieces of paper, notebooks, anything with a straight edge really, to “divide” the urchins so that I’ll only count a little part at a time. And still I am not sure I am getting the correct count. If only there was a software to record the movements that would tell me how many moved significantly haha! Even if at the moment I am a little behind on the analysis, I am confident that I will get through them all by week 5. That is, at least the ones that are done by then!

Since my last post a lot has happened and yet I feel like it all has become routine. Every day we carry water, every day the urchins go back to the reef and new ones are brought back, and every day we eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. And every day we do more trials. We have had an interesting last week with what must be “that time of the month” for the urchins causing them to spawn in the trial tanks. The first event, when 5/6 urchins spawned has been dubbed “The Urchin Orgie”, and they haven’t really shown signs of slowing down... At times they spawn on the way up to the boat, sometimes as soon as we put them into the trial tanks, and at times they wait until we hit record on the GoPro. The urchin trials have gone from stressing them out to a bunch of happy endings...

Some healthy board banter. Lionfish for dinner! 

I’ve gone to the mangroves a few more times as well, and managed a real life timber fall off the roots. I was walking over the roots at approximately one meter off the ground, though when I say walking I mean crawling, I really don’t fancy a broken leg... I was reaching for a root on my right with my hand, and I closed my grip only to find the root I was aiming for was still a good 10 cm away from my now closed fist. My head turned to the left, the direction I was now quite actively falling to, and I landed wrist and chest first on top a root only 50 cm off the ground... Luckily, my bones are strong (thank you Finnish milk!) and I didn’t break my wrist, and I only acquired two bruises; one on the wrist and one on the breast... literally! After a few minutes of being a little disoriented lying on my back on some comfy mangrove roots with my legs up in the air, trying to fend off the dizziness that followed the fall (no worries, I didn’t hit my head), I insisted we finish the transect we were there to do. I felt fine and was back in the Groovy Mangroovie mood in no time! Until we got back to the beach, only to wait for our taxi home for an extra two hours... But there’s no need to go into detail about how our lunch entertainment entailed listening to two drunk locals for an hour and a half, while our only phone was dead and we had no means of trying to contact base to find out where our taxi might possibly be. We got home in the end!
Millie and Andrew, enjoying a bitta pool time :) 

It is now only two and a half weeks until I go home (time has passed so fast!!) and we are only four days from having the original amount of trials done! Four working days, that is ;) Usually the week here ends on a Monday with Tuesday being a day off, dedicated to laundry, going to town for snack shopping, and all round lounging around. There is often a Disney film running on the TV via someones’s laptop, or a marathon of The Big Bang Theory. As much as I have tried to do my videos on Tuesdays, I frequently find myself giggling to Sheldon Cooper’s social awkwardness while the urchin on my screen desperately tries to swat away an invisible enemy.

I’m going to get onto the Lionfish Team’s secret files for my next post, to reveal all their secrets! So stay tuned! I also need to write up my methods which I am quite actively avoiding heeeheee... And because I really don't have any exciting pictures, I added a picture of Millie and Andrew enjoying some (much deserved?) pool time before lunch :) 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Mangrove Madness

Rich, The Master of the Mangrooves
Besides doing a lot of hard science I do take time to try and expand my horizons. I have been helping out the Mangroovers on their conquest of the lagoons. I went with them to the lagoon right behind the house to lend a hand, but I never realised doing research in the mangroves, Mangrooving as it is affectionately called, actually involved getting into the mangroves. I should have known, obviously, that you cannot gather data by just sitting on the edge of the forest and never going in, but the reality of what climbing on mangrove roots and treading in the murky, muddy water really is totally slapped me in the face. Luckily I was somewhat pre-warned... I had prepared (adequately enough) with long pants, long sleeved shirt and worn down runners, and of course tons of bug spray! We kayaked down to the “bottom” of the lagoon and found a little canal leading deeper into the forest, and went along until we found a good spot to park our kayaks. I managed to climb out of the kayak staying high and dry on the roots, but they were slippery business! Rich (the project leader and self appointed Mangroover Captain) took off to set down a 50 meter long measure tape to mark the first transect of the day. Me and Rachel (the Mangroover Apprentice) went to a point on the transect to set out a “plot”, within which we would take measurements of the trees and collect some core samples of the soil.
Mangrooving is serious business! 
Core samples are taken with a tool that looks like a wide tube which is pushed ca. 30 cm into the ground. There is a kind of “switch” on the tube that creates a suction to the top of the tube making the air pressure above the sample change so that the soil doesn’t just fall out of the tube when lifted. Obviously, as these cores are taken from the soil, it required getting into the mud ourselves... I had a moment when I was sure something would find the bare skin on my ankles and latch on, and only with some serious self assuring in the form of a there’s-no-croc’s-here-the-worst-thing-in-the-water-might-be-a-leech-nothing-here-will-kill-you-mantra did I manage to keep my cool and not let my mangrooving inexperience show (Rich and Rachel, you didn’t notice a thing!). That day we did two transects, one 100m and one 50m long, and kayaked all the way to the end of the lagoon. In fact, we spent so long in the kayaks under the sun that I acquired a fairly peculiar tanline on my ankles; long pants and short socks left just enough bare skin for the sun to burn 2cm wide ankle bracelets for me. #MangroveFashionista!

Can you spot the pelicans? 

I wasn’t so sure I wanted to go again very soon, because mangrooving was seriously hard core, and as much as I enjoyed it I had a hard time trying to get back to my own stuff once we returned to the house. But the next excursion was a few days later to Miami: a small fishing village about a 10 minute boat ride or 40 minute car drive away from Tela Marine. How was I supposed to say no? I mean, it was Miami after all ;) We took the pick-up truck to get there, and found Santos (the boat driver) waiting for us at the beach, along with George, a man who says he’ll watch the car but in reality just sits on the beach and drinks. I’m willing to bet if someone came to take something from the car he would probably help them... for a fee of course! This time there was no need to use all our energy kayaking, as we had a nice motor boat with a canopy to take us around the lagoon. The lagoon by Miami is separate from the one we went to before, and is also known to have crocodiles... Yaiks! We had a mission, however, and as soon as we got to the boat we got on with it. We were looking for wooden panels left in the water last year, to see what is degrading wooden material in these mangroves. Each site where the panels were left had a GPS “address”, and the panels were attached to fishing line which was then attached to a cable tie above water, to make them easier to spot amongst the roots. At some sites we found some of the fishing lines cut, probably a result of hopeful fishermen looking for a nice big crab caught in the line, only to  be disappointed to find the line attached to a rotting piece of wood... I liked the “spot the cable tie” game at each site, though, definitely a much easier way to spend the day than scrambling over the roots. We also left some new panels in the roots to be collected by the end of the season this year. The root systems in Miami were a lot easier to climb on than in the lagoon behind the house. Or so I thought until we went there again...
Birds not impressed by our arrival... 

A few days later we took on Miami again. Little did I know this time Rich had planned on doing a 150 m long transect... We found a site quickly after taking off from Miami Beach (ehe ehe...) and it looked like a piece of cake with a path leading into the forest. There were a few things on the mission list that day; record dead tree material along the transect within 10 meters each side, record all living trees along the transect and their heights and species, and take some core samples. We also took salinity and pH from the core samples. Did I say there was a path? I probably should have said there was a continuous gap in the roots... Walking along what looked like solid ground I suddenly found myself thigh deep in the mud, hanging onto Rachel for dear life (to her dismay as I was kind of pulling her down with me) and struggling to get up. I fared a little better than Jack, however, who was on his first Mangrooving session. He sunk into the same hole I had survived only moments before, fell forward to a huge banana spider net which, despite being fairly strong, was clearly unable to hold the weight of a tall Brit flailing about trying to get up from the mangrove suction trap. I would be lying if I said I didn’t laugh (sorry Jack!)... In fact, I giggled everytime a “F***k!”, “AAARRHH!” or “Dammit!!” rang through the mangroves.
Staying high and dry. Well, I am at least!
Along the 150 meters, there was one patch of deep water and mud, where if you were lucky you hit the roots and only got wet to your knees, but if you missed a step, you were going waist deep in the thickest muck I’ve ever experienced. Rich tried to help over me by bending a mangrove from the other side so I could hang onto it while crossing over. However, using his body weight to bend a young mangrove with relatively shallow roots resulted in him lying on top of the tree, inching towards a horizontal splat to give himself a nice mangroovian facial. While holding the tree somewhat upright, sinking deeper into the muck myself, I was trying to convince him I was not the reason he was getting closer and closer to a beautifying mud bath! Somehow I managed to hold the tree stable enough for him to crawl backwards onto dry(ish) land, and I was still only knee deep. Found a relatively stable route to the other side as well, and on we went with the transect! We spent a good 2 hours on that transect line, saw a couple of massive grasshoppers and one tarantula that was ready to take a bite out of Rich after he macheted down a fern it was clearly using as a sun lounger. I mean, I would be pissed too if someone woke me up from a much needed nap beside the pool! After the transect was done we were quite happy to hop on the boat and go have our packed lunch at Miami Beach. Sitting there, under the shade, munching away on our club sandwiches, my all day headache finally got the better of me and I just couldn’t wait to get home for a shower and a nap! I’m not quite done with the Mangrooving yet, though, and will definitely be joining the Mangrove Madness again. If they’ll have me ;)

Passing by a local fisherman