Saturday, October 2, 2010

Exam in the Water? I Think So!

Long day!

Well, again, we have a test on Saturday. It's really starting to piss me off that we have cancelled two dives to take exams on Saturdays now, but its ok, at least I have one extra day to study. We got to sleep in this morning an extra hour, but we headed right into Saturday site cleaning. Our room got assigned to beach cleanup today which was far less back-breaking and time consuming as our previous Saturday activities. We only cleaned for a half hour since the small beach was fairly clean already and we got to enjoy another half hour of free time, instead of being the last ones back. I prepped a study guide to quiz myself on corals and spent the next few hours hitting the books hard in prep for the exam, while the first group was out taking theirs. After lunch I joined Mike our site manager, Allie and Ben for a cleanup at Long Cay, somewhat easier than teaching Excel, like last week. Long Cay (pronounced here like Long Key) is a 4 mile or so island across the channel from South Caicos. It is mainly rocky with few beaches but enough shoreline to clean up trash. Along the backside of Long Cay are most of our dive sites. We anchored at a small beach to start cleaning but ended up just manually towing the boat in the shallows as we walked the shoreline for an hour and half, picking up random trash. Most of the garbage on this side is trash from South Caicos itself, as the currents drag it onto the shoreline, as opposed to Shark Bay. On the eastern side of the island, the currents bring in global trash. We mainly found beer cans and bottles, gasoline containers, netting and foam, and plastic utensils. Long Cay is relatively untouched by humans, as it is uninhabited, which is a good thing. The island is home to lots of iguanas, native animals not found on the main island due to the infestation of feral cats and dogs (MOM WE NEED TO TAKE HOME THE CUTE BLACK KITTEN!! ITS ALREADY PREPPED FOR OUTDOORS!!!!!!) We were also on the hunt to remove Australian Pine trees, an invasive species that outcompetes native trees and shrubs. We mainly talked amongst ourselves about the beauty of this island, the theories of Aqua-apes (the theory that humans were once close to evolving into water animals...way cool and makes sense...ask me about it later), Mike's real world college experiences at 40 years old, and his mink tattoo. It was a fairly easy task and when we were done, we scaled the 20 foot dunes to look over the other side at a fantastic view of the cobalt blue drop off on the other side.

We got back to the Center and prepped for our coral exam. The exam was out at HDL, and it went very smoothly, another test I will have aced, meaning 30% of my Marine Ecology grade is a very high A, a comforting thought. After our snorkel exam (and YES I do have exams IN THE WATER) we went straight to dinner and then prepared to hit the town in the evening, finally free of exams and scientific names. A few of us went to the hotel for free appetizers but didn't stay long, seeing as the bugs were once again, voracious. Of course, Money and Goochie Man were there to keep us entertained and were in true form dancing and making fools of themselves. When the rest of the group got there, we all trekked back to the night club for a long night of dancing to caribbean music. And Michael Jackson. "Juice", a wealthy local business man met up with us there and taught some of us how to salsa dance. The staff turned up around 11:30 and were dancing with us until it was time to go back. We had a small sing along with Chase and the guitar, some conversations replaying the evening, a raucous card game and watched some drunk ping pong. Good times. An hour later we headed to the boys' room to watch Wedding Crashers, but I passed out sitting up on a bed a 1/4 of the way through. I woke up to Pags' elbow in my face and decided it was time to head to sleep in my own room.

Savanna, Mikenna, Sway, Myself, Dan, and Chase

Savannah, my country tomboy friend :)

Mark and "Money", our local character

Go Broncos! :)

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