Sunday, October 3, 2010

All You Do is Complain and Complain.

Sorry followers, I know I haven't posted in a while, but I'll try to back track as much as possible and post them under the day they actually happened. Shark pictures are FINALLY up so you can check out the "Shark in the dark" post to see them. They're pretty bloody though, yikes.

Today was slow, seeing as I woke up at 2 pm. There was nothing to do, nothing to commit to or miss out on, no homework that needed immediate completing so I just let myself sleep until I was too hot and not tired anymore.When I finally got up and got food, I recapped the previous evening for some of our more forgetful drunks, and we swapped stories about happenstances. We said our goodbyes to Eva, our Resource Management professor, as she left the Center for good on a flight home. Sway, Chase and I went snorkeling at about 345 which was high tide, and saw a lot of things that we had already learned. It's a completely different experience to snorkel and know everything you see. (Finally!) The corals, the algaes, the fish and the invertebrates. It's one thing to be awed by the mystery of new things, but a horse of a different color to know and pay attention to things that you have learned. Its much more fun to pay attention to detail or behaviors or interactions between species if you know what you're looking at. We took a good hour to swim the whole length of the swimmer's area all the way out to the jetty, where we met a few cute baby barracudas. They're so curious and undaunting at that size, that they're simply captivating. Each fish was about a foot long, clearly not going to take off my head, so there really was no fear factor. The 4 adorable barracudas came pretty close and I got to take a good long time to study them and enjoy their company. Later on in our dive, Mike attempted to kill a lionfish with a stick. Not his smartest idea. Chase and I politely (not) informed him how stupid he was and that lionfish charge when they're provoked. He promptly dropped the stick and the lionfish sway away, fairly pissed off at the threat to it's livelihood.

Fireworm (Eurythoe complanate)

Juvenile Slippery Dick (Halichoeres bivitattus), Juvenile Damselfish (Stegastes sp.), and Queen conch shell (Strombus gigas)

Adult French Grunt (Hamulon flavolineatum), and Adult Slippery Dick

Chase (Homo sapien)

Juvenile Great Barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda)

Symmetrical Brain Coral (Diploria strigosa)

Irritated Lionfish (Pterois volitans)
 Fun fact: the fireworm's name is complanate, also found in bladed fire coral which is Millepora complanata. So basically a bunch of scientists complained when they got stung for the first time and kept naming their animals that.

We came back in in time for dinner, which was made by staff and students today. After dinner, Hilary came over requesting my corkscrew on my swiss army knife. When I asked why, she said it was for opening a message in a bottle. ??? Apparently when Hilary and some other girls were snorkeling at Shark Bay today, she found a cute little plastic message in a bottle with sand, goldfish confetti and a plastic goldfish in it! Upon opening, we learned that it was a 10 year old boy from NY on a cruise that had dumped it at Grand Turk late June. He left his email address wanting to know who found it, where, and when, so we took a few photographs and Hilary is going to email the boy soon with the info. SO CUTE!!! After that, I went off to do some of our readings and edit some of the photos I took on our dive. I ended the night talking to Kate, our student affairs manager about team building, Marianne's ice cream, geckos and flying cockroaches, and sleep deprivation. Tomorrow we start learning how to assess conch fishery populations, as we are approaching the beginning of our directed research. Can't wait!

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