Friday, September 24, 2010

What's Your Favorite Fish, John?

Not much happening today except a few morning classes about reef fish reproduction from John, our fish-sex-obsessed Center Director. His favorite fish happens to be a boxy looking fish that has trouble staying upright during copulation. Hmm. By lunch we were all cramming for our test on Saturday before our 3rd and final ID session out in the field. I got the slow boat again, and Sarah, one of the interns with 420 logged dives (holy COWFISH), took us out into the field at Shark Alley. Right away before we even got into the water, Serena started yelling "shark! Shark!" She had seen a dorsal and caudal fin sticking up out of the water in the distance by the rocks. We all scrambled to get in the water to find the said shark, but alas, no shark. However, shortly after we jumped in, we did see a magnificent spotted eagle ray. These creatures are beautiful soaring through the water, flapping their "wings" and gliding between schools of fish. They are navy blue with brilliant white spots on their topside. As soon as it saw us, it gave  2 great pectoral kicks and it was quickly 100 feet away from us. We saw many other really cool fishes underwater while we were out there, along with a coral field and a really cool fan coral landmark. No shark though. Towards the end of our snorkel, we saw a large Southern Stingray cruising along the bottom with 2 cute little ones gliding along behind it. It was like seeing a little duck family underwater! So adorable. Fun fact! I have learned the difference between "fish" and "fishes"! Fish is either singular or plural, but only plural when referring to multiple individuals within one species. Fishes is plural for multiple individuals amongst several species, but cannot be used in the singular. Interesting!

Dinner followed shortly after our ID session and after dinner I studied more fish. Mike and I took a walk to blow off some study stress and ventured around the docks, exploring more tidbits of the island we hadn't seen before. We came back and played several intense games of ping pong before  calling it a night and heading back to the computer room for more intense cramming before the test. Big day tomorrow, but I get to sleep in an extra hour! :)

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