Today marked the beginning of our independent research projects. Everyone split into pairs and I was lucky enough to end up with Bryce! Each pair had to come up with a hypothesis we could test and collect data for over the next 4 days, and Bryce and I agreed on looking further into cleaner wrasse. Our research project is looking into the relationship between cleaner wrasse and the fish they are cleaning and how much time a wrasse spends cleaning a fish based on its size. I'm really excited with where our work is heading and I'm unbelievably lucky to have such a smart and fun partner.
Thia afternoon we had to work on writing out a proposal for our project and what should probably have only taken us under an hour took us about 2. We just got so distracted with good conversation with Saul or my scatter-brain-ness or making up gibberish words sung to the tune of "Under the Sea" from The Little Mermaid. Also Bryce plays the harmonica which I am constantly asking him to play.
The Day ended with a walk down to the jetty with Cassie and Bryce to watch the sunset. Sunsets here have been great already, but today the weather changed up a bit and there were lavender chains of clouds and baby pink fading into the orange sky. It's always a nice, beautiful and humbling way to end the day.
Tomorrow we start collecting our data in the field at high tide. Wish this scatter-brain some luck!
Remember summer camp? Maybe it was a science camp, a boy scouts or girl scouts group, a dance camp, anything like that? That is what this feels like, except as an adult. Which is awesome. I don't know what I'd call our camp... Camp Coral maybe? It's a camp for aspiring environmental scientists looking to have a life changing experience, gaining knowledge, hands on application and friendships that will last lifetimes.
So much happens in a day I go back and re-read blog posts and think of all the things I forgot to say! Today, we had our second day out on the outer reef and man oh man, it was A-MAZING! I thought the first day was great, but today the water was crystal clear and still; the busy-ness of the underwater world was at it's peak! Little tiny shining blue damsel fish swimming in schools, sea turtles cruising along, giant groupers and parrotfish being cleaned by wrasses, and tons and tons of butterflyfish. Ed even saw a Manta ray! (jealous) Melissa and I also saw a trumpet fish, which was definitely one of the weirder looking things I've seen out here so far.
I've come to love snorkeling and free diving a lot more than I anticipated. I knew it was going to be awesome, but I don't think I expected to love it as much as I do. There's something so exhilarating and satisfying about getting a glimpse into this mysterious world--and the only sound is the sound of your own breath and the tiny popping sounds of shrimp. I found myself today thinking about how much I will miss swimming everyday, and planning in my head to get a divers' certification and swim at my local pool more often.
After our dive, we had time to work on our lab reports and I got some nice time to write in my journal on the beach. Lunch, lecture and a movie (Blue Planet) later it was dinner! The days just fly by here. After dinner Tia, Trisha, Bryce, Hanna, Dylan, Melissa and I were chatting away about movies and laughing at Hanna's "ferret fingers." Tia's laugh is super contagious, and we were all moved to tears of laughter a couple times. It really is crazy how well we all get along and how easy it is to talk and just have fun. There's something about being around people that you share a common passion with. Sure, we all love wildlife and nature and science and that's why we're here; but we're all more than just that, and seeing everyone's personalties develop is one of my favorite parts of this experience.
To end this post, here's a cool picture I got of Trisha pointing out a nudibranch (sea slug) the other day.. I bet you wish your professors and classrooms were as cool as ours.
Another day beginning with swimming at 6:00am! I think I've decided I want to do that every opportunity I get. Not only is it a break-taking experience every time we go out, but it just feels great to start off the day with a swim, being with nature. Today took a boat to the outer reef, and a bunch of us took our our GoPros, but turns out we can't even post our videos on this blog! So I'll attach some screenshots I got from my footage today!
I am a Wildlife Science major with a minor in Philosophy at USU. I am passionate about studying and conserving our planet. I love to travel and explore and meet new people. My hobbies include hiking, doodling, yoga and doing my best to make the people around me smile!