Our day started early, 0530 wake up, grab your gear, and off to the lagoon for an initial scouting of possible research sites. I stayed up late the night before looking a sat images for terrain recognition but was surprised at how quickly I woke up. Getting into the water at 0600 as the sun is coming up will take you from full zombie to alert and oriented. I have partnered with a driven, competent, young researcher to help her accomplish her goals. Additionally most of our study abroad group has been more than willing to lend a hand and put in the work. Of which, I can assure you, is impossible by yourself. It would be a horrible idea to swim 200 meters off coast without a buddy, not to mention exhausting try to explore all potential collection areas.
So you think you are a great swimmer? How about free diving, or navigating underwater in a 3D environment trying to find areas based off your 2D overhead sat map you've memorized in your head? Now you need to consider the currents, which can be strong when the tide is high, and the chop, when the wind picks up. We needed to make sure the sites we found met the parameters for our design so we spent the next hour setting transect lines out to 30 meters to make sure we had what we needed. Again, you have to work as a team, watch each others backs, and then figure out how to actually perform under changing/unknown conditions all the while struggling with your inexperience. Their will be growing pains. Maybe now you are starting to get an idea of what else you have do deal with outside the constant control of your lab when you conduct the science in the real outside world. Fortunately we are working as great team, and progressing the work.
Semper Tentare Semper Gumby
P.S. This was just the first couple of hours of the day! We learned new surveying techniques at high/low tides later on, had a great lecture on Coral Reef Ecology, and finished it off with more snorkeling and yoga on the beach as the sun went down.