Saturday, April 4, 2015

Thank You NC !

Another fabulous trip for the North Collins Marine Biology Club.  I am always so proud of our students - we as chaperones again heard many compliments of how well behaved and polite
the kids were all week.  Kudos to you parents- your hard work shows in their manners! 
    The week would not run smoothly without the help of the other adults on the trip - Thank you again to Lisa and Randy Brosnick, Garry and Kathy Dole!
I have traveled many places in my life but wouldn't trade any of it for the great times I have had with students on the MBC trips.   
All my Love,   Miss Palmer

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Days are Just Packed

Bekah and Ashlynn here to talk about our last day in Paradise. The day started bright and early for some of us as Mr. Dole took Sam and Bekah to see the sunrise while others opted for the extra hour of sleep. The calm of the island and the beauty of the sunrise was a great start to the day. After breakfast, we went to Carambola Gardens. There, Bill (the owner) showed us the different kinds of trees native to Roatán. We saw cocoa and cinnamon trees (to name a few) and we were even able to taste some all-spice leaves and cocoa beans. We then hiked up the mountain (after taking a few wrong turns). The view was breathtaking (literally—we were all rather short of breath). From the top of the mountain we were able to see all of Anthony’s Key and Bailey’s Key—the place where the dolphins live. What was so cool about it was that we could see places where we previously snorkeled. The hike down was a lot easier and we all worked up enough of a sweat to be ready for some snorkeling. Our first snorkel sight was off the back of Bailey’s Key. The mooring was near a shipwreck called El Aguila.  JoJo and John threw bait into the water and huge groupers came and snatched them up. It was quite alarming and extremely cool. We swam around for a while looking at all of the fish and coral. After our morning snorkel, we went to lunch where we feasted on chicken wraps, homemade pizza, and fish. After lunch there was time for some powernaps before our afternoon snorkel. Miss Palmer requested we go back to Blue Harbor because she believes it to be the most beautiful place on earth. While in Blue Harbor, Sam got a chance to snorkel one last time because she bought special ear plugs. We saw some pretty neat things like a huge hermit crab living in a conch shell and a pair of sailfin blennies. Jake and Chris even saw a stingray! The boat ride back proved to be eventful. A flying fish decided to make himself known to us and jump into Miss Palmer’s lap. She decided to be a good neighbor and she threw him back into the ocean. Miss Palmer was the hero of today :) It was a sad last snorkel because this meant that we had to say goodbye to our pals JoJo and John.   JoJo and John taught us a lot about the water and the creatures that live there and they added some native spice to our trip. After our final snorkel in Roatán, we got some ice cream and then had time to go to the gift shop and buy some cool souvenirs. We then went to the bar where we  got some delicious drinks, listened to live music and watched the sunset with our education director Jennifer Keck.  We then had a yummy dinner. Chris went all out and got a seafood platter with crab, conch, and every possible thing you can imagine. We are now enjoying the peace and quiet of the island as we pack our things to return home. We’re collecting all of the extra sunscreen and bug spray and giving it to Jen Keck to give to the locals and other snorkeling groups.  It’s a bittersweet goodbye—sad to leave but ready to go home. Thank you to everyone who has been commenting. The comments always put smiles on our faces. This is Bekah and Ashlynn signing off for the last time in Roatán. Perhaps one day we’ll return :)

The group at the peak of Carambola Gardens
The ginormous groupers off of Bailey's Key
Saying goodbye to our new friends, JoJo and John

Seafood heaven
P.S. Thanks Mom and Dad for commenting and bringing me happiness knowing your thinking of me as much as I am thinking of you. I miss you guys so much and can’t wait to tell you my experiences here in Roatán, Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow! Love, Ashlynn

P.P.S. Thanks Katie and Mom and Lori and Amelia for commenting. I liked hearing from you guys, but my favorite commenter was Jocy :) I’m excited to see you too! Owen, I have the picture of the banana tree for you—it was the first thing I did. There’s one conveniently right outside my cabin. I love you all and am looking forward to seeing you tomorrow night. Mom, you can expect me to barge into your room and steal Murphy so that I can have a snuggle bud to keep me warm! Love you lots, Bek

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Outback Dave and Professor Keppel venturing the high seas....CROIKEE!

The squad at the pool.

Professor Keppel and Outback Dave here to bring you the best blog of the century. Well, we started off with our usual breakfast of watermelon and pancakes (Professor Kep) and eggs, bacon, and ham (Outback).  Then, we ventured to the classroom for an amazing lecture on the many Mangrove areas within the Caribbean. After the lecture, we were on the boat again to see the Mangroves with our own eyes at Man O’ War Key. Despite being a little murky, it was a very unique experience to see all of the juvenile fish just chilling in shallow waters fit for their size; but the snorkeling didn’t end there. We took the boat a whole 50 feet out of the Mangroves into Blue Harbor, one of the most beautiful spots in the entire Caribbean. There, we not only got to look at the diverse selection of organisms, we were fortunate enough to collect them with our fancy nets. Upon our snorkel, we spotted the wild Miss Palmer doing the classic “King of the World” pose off of the front of the boat. Also we spotted an eagle ray and a flounder. Some things we collected are the mighty Queen Conch, Milk Conch, a Sea Biscuit, and Jenna caught a fish called the slippery-dick…she was the master fish catcher because no one else could do the hearty task. Within some of the empty conch shells and encrusted algae, little fish, baby octopi, baby shrimp, a flatworm, a segmented worm called the thing, and Mr. Krabs, straight from the krusty algae (a.k.a. The Krusty Krab). Then, we safely released all of these critters back into the wild, and returned for lunch. On the menu was a beef tenderloin sandwich, an entire fish (including the eyes), and a nice B.L.T. sammich (Dad we can serve these at Keppies’ Sammiches). We then played cards on the girls’ deck, and spotted the wild iguana. Carl decided to fight a bee on the way to the gear shack. The bee got some good shots in (Carl’s okay), but you shoulda seen the bee;).
                Our afternoon snorkel took place off of the back of Anthony’s Key, where we saw many urchins, a large barracuda the size of Manhattan, and a large variety of juvenile fish. On the way back in, Outback Dave and Chris had a memorable encounter with fire coral, while Professor Keppel, Jade, and Aurora watched from a safe, unfirey distance. Vinegar turned out to be a great cure, and we headed for the pool for some fun in the sun. Then, Outback Dave and Professor Keppel reunited as the volleymaster duo in some classic beach volleyball once more. Yesterday they fell short to the hometown boys by a mere two points, but that was not the story today… THEY DESTROYED, bringing their overall record to 2-1. All of this fun made us all hungry, and we headed for dinner, with great chicken parm, and Grilled Mahi Mahi (it’s a fish).  To top the day off Professor Keppel and Outback Dave gave the greatest presentations this side of the Hudson on reef health and climate change. Now we will finish the blog and upload everything so we can get some sleep. This is Outback Dave and Professor Keppel signing off. Have a swell night.

P.S. Hey Dad amd Mom, Jenna here. I miss you guys and hope you are having a fun time doing nothing in a quite house with the dog. Garbear, I hope your arm feels better. Love you guys!!

The Professor and Outback Dave

Lionfish at the mangroves.

Zach holding Donkey Dung Sea Cucumber

Chillin on the boat deck.


Searching for critters in the algae.

"Jack I'm flying!"

Red-Tipped Sea Goddess

Thanks To Mrs. Brosnick for finding this beautiful Sea Goddess at the Blue Harbor back reef! Both the rhinophores and gills are tipped with red. This Nudibranch is uncommon in Central America which makes it an even better find. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

No Foolin'! We had a blast today!

It’s Wednesday and it’s the Brosnick duo’s turn to blog. We started the day as always with breakfast bright and early at 7:00. Apparently no one sleeps in on Roatan. After breakfast, we gathered our stuff up and hopped on a bus and headed to the intertidal zone. The shores were made up of fossilized coral and shells. Here the tide was low enough for us to see all kinds of life such as hermit crabs (Jenna’s favorite), snails, chitons, and crabs. Clinging to the rocks, these animals had the true wild life, trying to hold on against the onslaught of waves. As it started, to rain we ran back to the bus and headed into the town of West End. We had two hours to venture into shops selling all kinds of souvenirs and clothes.
The shops had very interesting items hand made by native Roatanians.  We’re sure you will see many of these gifts when we return!  Some of us were quick to master the ways of bargaining and were able to get “discounts” Roatan style.   I (Noah) bought a hand -made bongo.  Let’s hope everyone can sleep tonight!  The girls were on a mission to find dresses, while the boys ended up with hand-woven palm hats.  We finished our tour in town with a quick stop at the grocery store for ice cream, crazy foods only found in Roatan, coffee and vanilla.
The afternoon brought beautiful sunshine and a snorkel at Fish Den.  Holding true to its name, we saw lots of fish: a large school of grunts, several durgons, queen angels, filefish and at the very end a large hogfish.
After a few quick April Fools jokes about sightings of whale sharks we were on our way back to shore.  We were quick to change into our dry clothes and join our dive master John and his friends for a few intense games of beach volleyball.  We tried to do our best, but let’s just say us New Yorkers don’t know beach volleyball, or anything to do with a beach and warm weather.
Another quick change into our nice clothes and we headed to Fiesta Night.  The fun began with an intense crab race.  Both Carly and Rebekah had winning crabs after the first round.  We thought Carly’s was going to win, but the crab was directionally challenged and turned away from the finish line at the last moment.  Then everyone tried their hand at the limbo.  With an impressive showing, Chris was crowned “Limbo King”.  I (zach) realize now limbo is not for tall kids.  Miss Palmer, Clinton and Mr. and Mrs. Brosnick broke it down on the dance floor during the dance contest.  However, the native Garifuna dancers showed them up with their extraordinary tribal dance skills.  We think that playing the conch and the turtle are much cooler instruments than trumpet and viola. 

The real fiesta started when the dance floor opened to everyone.  Some of us found interesting partners to dance with, while others danced with Miss Palmer and Mrs. Brosnick.  Leaving us all tired, we slowly trudged back to our rooms to go to sleep.  You know we won’t get to sleep in tomorrow.

Group with Clinton at the fiesta!

Dinner for the night mmm

Local dancer, grooving at the party

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

We all Scream for Ice Cream

Hey everyone! This is Aurora and Jade writing. Well, today we started off with a snorkel at Four Sponges where we saw an eel (video from Jake included) and we also loved seeing all the beautiful abundance of fish at that spot. After our snorkel, we came back and kayaked around Anthony’s Key, which was really relaxing and a really nice change of pace; being above the surface of the water rather than below it. After we kayaked, we headed to the snack shack and had Miss Palmer’s favorite- ICE CREAM!! After we enjoyed our ice cream we headed over to lunch where we ate tuna wraps and Cuban sandwiches. We had some down time proceeding lunch, where we sat under our bungalows (and had a lot of fun-galow) before heading out on the boat once again. Our next snorkel was at a spot called “Pillar Coral” where we tried our hand at coral identification and had a competition to see who could identify 12 different corals correctly. Also, we saw an oooooh barra-barracuda! To follow, we had some journaling time until it was interrupted by a swarm of ants that decided they like the smell of fruit loops and the boys’ dirty laundry. We then had a small volleyball tournament, and our team came in 2nd place. Our last activity of the day was a night-time snorkel off the back of Bailey’s Key where we saw some squid, donkey dung sea cucumbers, a school of squirrel fish and multiple beady-eyed lobsters. To finish off the day, we sat down and had Red Snapper, Roasted Chicken and Pork Milanese for dinner, which was all delicious as usual.  The rest of the gang is playing cards while we summarize our busy day. Just an update on Sam- she went to la clinica today and the doctor found she has a ruptured ear drum, meaning she cannot snorkel the rest of the trip. L Even though she couldn’t snorkel today, Jo-Jo let her steer the boat home from Four Sponges.
Mom, Dad, Savannah, Brody and Liana; thanks for the comments, I love and miss you all so much. I was worried you all were partying and went to Red Robin’s without me. Savannah, I especially loved hearing so much of your personality through your comments. It also means a lot to me that you’re trying so hard. I can’t wait to sit my butt down on that new futon and catch up with you guys. Enjoy me being gone while it lasts because I’ll be home before you know it. Love, Rora
Mom and Dad- I miss you guys so much! Mom, I’m so glad you finally figured out how to comment because I was concerned that you were dead and the cats ate your dead body. Anyways, I hope the Walking Dead finale was good dad, and I can’t wait to watch it with you when I get home. Also please say hi to Babcia and Abbi for me, and also Tiger because I only miss her (not the other cats). Well I love you guys and I will see you on Saturday! Love, Jade

Kayaking around Anthony's Key

Camera tricks with Aurora, Jenna and Carly taken by Jake

All of us from yesterday at Maya Key

Our snorkel-selfie
Good Morning North Collins!  Miss Palmer & Mrs. Brosnick here.
      Just finishing up with breakfast and getting ready head to morning lecture, snorkel, lunch , snorkel, pool time, dinner, journal & blog.  Here are some photos of the resort.  We also think we have fixed the video problem - but no sound.
The view we see when we wake up in the morning!

My room - students look not as neat but basically the same.

The girls on their side of the porch.

Chillin in the lobby before breakfast.

Fresh fruit every morning - they do eat healthy!
Our waiter Roland.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Jammin' with JoJo

The Squad
Ok although a hard act to follow its Jake and Chris’ to take a crack at this blogging thingy. Thank you to all the parents that have replied to our blog post last night explaining how much you love and miss us and all that mushy stuff, and we would all love to hear about your day in snowy buffalo but I think you’d rather hear about oursJ, We started off rolling out of bed bright and early to grab a bite quick and then take the water taxi to Bailey’s Key to meet our dorsal- fined friends, dolphins not sharks. So into the brisk water we went to experience our new friend’s habitat filled with hugs, kisses and plethora of cool tricks. After a short snorkel with the dolphins, we boarded the big boat with Captain Jo Jo.  The boat sped off to our next location, a snorkel at Black Rock on the West Bay of Roatan.   There we enjoyed seeing our first flounder and long spined urchin.  We proceeded with  a choppy high sea cruise to Maya Key  with Jo Jo’s master  navigation skills. That was a wild ride!   Arriving at Maya key, we rinse off real quick and had a great buffet lunch of sea bass and banana chips. Following lunch we embarked on a nature tour and exploration of the Mayan replicas ruins which included  native artifacts and architecture. Now more snorkeling off the back of Maya key where we viewed more biodiversity in the reef as well as observing a 3ft to 60ft depth differences while we swam.   Out of the warm water and in to the windy weather to get on the boat for a nice 1 hour boat ride back to our resort. With our gear drying in the gear shack, the whole gang dragged their feet to go to a beautiful lecture on corals. After our studies we ended the night stuffing ourselves with yummy calamari and chicken and cheese quesadilla served pina coladas (nonalcoholic of course). Not forgetting the presentations given by Jade and Aurora filling our heads with info on the Mesoamerican reef.  With all the learning and swimming we could take for one day, we (Jake and Chris) had some spare time to write this master piece to fill you guys with jealousy and sadness. In all seriousness we love and miss all of you and as much as we’d like to come home were going to soak as much of this in while we have the chance.

David enjoying the wild ride!

NC in Honduras at sunset

We dem boyz.

Chaperones and co.

Ps thank you Mom Dad Dj Cassandra Charlie Nick and Pea for all your comments I am having a great time and experiencing many new things since I’ve been here. I miss you all give Addison a kiss from Uncle Chris.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

PPPPS: On the boat!!

Shake your booty like an agouti!

 On our way to the first snorkel of the day!
 Posing on the shaky dock, walking to dolphin training (check out Sam's face)

Carl telling Alita to do a tail walk!
 Sam shaking hands with Muray
Miss Palmer striking a pose, while Alita takes to the sky (due to her fancy pose)

                An exhausting day of travel had us all begging to go to bed at 7:30 last night, leaving us all passed out by 8.  After we were put to sleep by the sounds of a tropical rainstorm (at least it wasn’t snow) we woke up bright and early to head to a rain soaked breakfast #honduranstyle. We of course consumed our weight in food and then lugged our bodies to the classroom where we got taught all the ropes of Fish ID. We had the chance to test our new skills in our first ‘real’ snorkel of the trip at Man-of-war key. Flamingo tongues, squirrel fish, urchins, blennys and sea fans littered the sea floor, distracting us from the looming dark clouds above our heads. We quickly got out of the water and maneuvered our way back to land, in spite of some people wanting to chase the storm #honduranrisktakers. Lunch was the next priority on our schedule, and you better believe we dove right in. There were mui magnific lobstah tacas that ignited all of our taste buds, and for those of the less daring sort, there were of course cheeseburgers in paradise. We didn’t wait too long for the food to settle before going back out to sea, in midst of a sprinkle of rain. Wrasse hole was full of…. wrasses…. parrotfish, squids, a giant turtle, and too many other things to list. Sadly it was also full of over three foot swells and rolling waves that had all of our stomachs churning. After an exciting boat ride back where we encountered a tuna boil showing off its jumping ways, by leaping out of the surface unexpectedly, we arrived to shore safely. The comforts of land didn’t last too long because we were off on a water taxi to Bailey’s Key to cap off our busy day with dolphin training. This once in a lifetime experience allowed us to learn the ways of dolphin speak #hondurandolphinwhisperers. We were taught energetic hand signals instructing the dolphins to wave, do a backflip, swim fast, swim fast, and swim ‘fancy.’ It was incredible making a connection with these majestic creatures and we wouldn’t trade it for the world. After dolphins we had a hot minute to shower and then right to dolphin lecture before dinner, yet again a classroom activity full of entertainment and interesting quips #honduranstudents. Dinner had us all licking our lips with plates full of luxurious lamb shanks, superb sweet and sour shrimp, and of course the delectable, delicious, decadent, dinner rolls!!! Also, #hondurancoconutcreampie. We now find ourselves exhausted yet again, hoping to hit the sack before 9, in hopes of cramming even more in our schedule if it is even possible, tomorrow.
Love your favorite #honduranhermanas ,
Sam and Carly 
PS. Thanks everyone for the love you have all ‘blogged’ our way, it added a little Buffalove to our day. Also, thank you Verny for that absolutely touching message, I love and miss you so much and I can’t wait to come home and tell you all about my trip like you did for me. Have a superdeeduper week and don’t forget to remind mom that I expect a puppy when I get home ;) Love you much sister!
PPS: I would first like to of course thank you mom and dad (and Mrs. Brosnick, Miss. Palmer, Mr. and Mrs. Dole, and Jenn Keck) for allowing us to embark on this wonderful adventure. Mom, my suitcase was 50 pounds, looks like I’m leaving some clothes for some roatanians ;). Nick, I have successfully not broke your go pro….yet…and to the whole familia I miss you all and love you mucho mucho!! Also, I would like to thank all of the commenters that have brought us such joy and I hope you all continue to comment as it makes us feel all a little bit of love. I can’t wait to hear more from everybody (even you marq) and will see you all soon! 
PPPS: The title comes from Aurora Klawinski. It was Mr. Dole's birthday and we had to come up with a catchy slogan, to thank him for all he does! Happy Birthday!!!