Thar's a hurricane a'blowin!!! Igor is full force but it swings wide of TCI. Pretty much all hurricanes do here. But, it is bringing us some much needed patchy rains and some really powerful swell. We were not able to visit the fish processing plant today due to absolutely horrible visibility in the waters. No fishermen even went out to fish because of the stirred up sediment and waves. However, being the Cali girl that I am, the waves are great for body surfing! Normally the ocean is flatter than flat, but alas, here are some waves :) In any case, the hurricane does bring bad news, as it may make our next set of ID exams either late or very difficult, and the news says that Hurricane Julia is close behind, also a Category 4. Should be interesting! Here's a little bit of history: The last hurricane to really come through the TCI was Hurricane Ike in 2008 and it was absolutely devastating to this small island. Many buildings still remain broken, dilapidated, torn, run-down, and useless. The Belongers don't have many resources to rebuild or clean up the mess from 2 years ago, and many either just live in those conditions or moved houses. Several beautiful landmarks were pristine, and were just demolished in the hurricane, such as an old round outdoor building, and the Queen Elizabeth's Regatta pier. The pier now stands like broken toothpicks, the boards completely ripped off the boardwalk and the pilings standing like jagged teeth. That really was the largest hurricane to come through here in decades though, and the most recent forecasted ones are going to pass well around us here at the Center.
Moving on to the day:
Class this morning was a little painful, as we sat through a slideshow of 85 reef fish that we need to know by scientific name by next Friday. However, the ID sessions that we usually get to practice and learn may be thwarted by Igor, we don't know. It certainly was a daunting 2 hours though, as most of the fish look the same and the differences between families are not always very clear or separated. After lunch, we were supposed to visit the local fish processing plant, as we had learned about it in the morning, but as I mentioned, the storm made that impossible. We hung out on the docks for a little bit, napped in the warm sun, played some volleyball and played games until dinnertime.
After dinner we decided to go out on the town. One group was diving tomorrow so some of us couldn't drink any alcohol, but we went out to find the rest of the group anyways just to hang out for the night. We made the rounds to Trenchtown Bar, Chicken Bar, Darryl's, and Bayside Ballers (a round which literally takes 3 minutes to walk the whole thing) but couldn't find the group. We were approached by a local man named James who used to work for the SFS Center from 1991-98. He invited us into the pool hall and were helping us with our fish ID while we played billiards. He was certainly a character! He kept telling us that he was James, James Bond, 007! Within that category, he was also Pierce Brosnan and he kept saying "not stirred, not stirred!" We played 7 harrowing games of team pool, shooting back and forth. I won one of the final games (Dad, you'll be proud) with a very close drop shot around the 8 ball, and a behind the back shot to win the game. We met a very tall local called Yao Ming and played until 11, when it was time to go home. I'm off to watch Monsters Inc. and then sleep a wonderful sleep, as we have an extra hour to sleep in tomorrow.