I slept in so late today...what is the deal!? Getting up at the crack of dawn, to sleeping in--and I'm still tired! Must be the Island life... Our day started off with us getting all of our pieces in place for our presentation, with a little help from Trisha explaining to us about our testing methods we did from the prior day.
I was feeling a little all over the place this morning and felt bad I was dragging Kim around with me, but after getting direction -- I felt more confident about our testing methods and more confident about what we had originally hypothesized.
It was already lunch time by the time high tide rolled in, and I had to roll myself out into a wet suit after eating all that amazing food--not to mention that it was super windy today! It was a choppy swim and hard to stay in our general area we were testing because we would get pushed back so much by the waves. There was even a Black Tip Shark that swam right by us in the shallow water!
After our swift swim collecting data we showered up and spent some time playing card games with the rest of the group which was a nice break from the research projects, but we all were distracted with the rush of getting down to the beach in time for the sunset...and also that we had to take over Snapchat for USU today... Love our group. Thank god Bryce jogged with me both ways...I need the exercise! So much food has been consumed! Three course meals everyday...fuhhh! It's so good though!
We had a quick lecture about our research projects and how to make them successful. Which for me was actually inspiring ,oddly enough! They basically related it to if you mess up, own it! Control the mistake in your research and turn it around into something that you are confident in, rather than saying you messed up and could have done something better...etc...I took this very personal! I need to apply this into my life, whether it be with a future research project, opportunties, my career, etc. I just want to own everything I do as if it weren't even a mistake, but more so be confident in who I am and what Im presenting! It's easier said than done, but it was something to reflect on for sure. Good Laughs and good times were had again today as always! Im pooped for some reason! I love seagulls...I swear I can still hear them sqwaking
Daww! Look at us representing! We are an awesome group, if I may say so myself! It has been fun getting to hear everyone's different ideas on their research projects here in the reef, and how we are going to accomplish them. Today I was able to learn about Audree's research project using lettuce and taking photos of the lettuce, all at the same length, and using camera's at 3 different to get different types of findings. The camera has technology to track if there has been anything that has been bitten off or altered in someway. It is very neat to hear about her project and to be able to help her out for once! It was really windy and choppy today on the reef, so it may things a little more difficult to get out to the spots and stay put. Not to mention being terrified as we headed back to shore and having a million sting rays all hanging out in shallow water!
Kim and myself then began to start on our research project about the abundance of clams in a certain area and what kind of substrate are they more associated with. It has been difficult to feel like I have a start on where to go with a research aspect, usually I dive in heads first and plot afterwards, but it has been a persoanal challenge for me to stop, think, question, AND THEN test. I will get there some day...poor Kim stuck with me for this project! We are doers...we just go with it and figure it out as we go along, so this has been fun and a learning experience...all at the same time. It was awesome though! Kim spotted our first "Lion Fish"of the trip!
Research was then followed by dinner and a night full of learning games from Camp...rock, paper, scissors, SLAP! It was like watching a car wreck...sounded so painful, but you end up laughing instead! We then ended our night with watching "Planet Earth--Freshwater" and I am really feeling sleepy today!
Cheers to the next day for our research project!
Man!!! More fun times in the sun today with boating to the outer reef and diving and snorkeling! I took it a little easier to save my toes and energy for later in the day. I thought my toes would make it the whole trip without a blister, but I was wrong...goes without saying if I did this a lot, I would for sure make an investment on good equipment. Today I felt like what we saw on the outer reef was different to what we say yesterday even! We still saw so much coral activity; down to our squid, turtles, sharks, and even some crown of thrones stars...the reef is truly fascinating to experience. Every time we dive, Im still just blown away by everything around me that is happening. The massive coral structures are what get me...how long did it take to get there!?!?!?! I love this.
I also have had a blast with the group of people that are here, we've all seemed to just click with our personalities and it is nice that we can just grab someone and go anywhere. We ended up taking a walk around the beach and found a random broom that floated up to shore...it was funny to just think of all the possibilities of how that thing got there, but also sad because we discussed things in lecture today that can affect the reefs, which happens to be pollution...Just random thought, but we did have fun lugging that thing around with us...(Pictured below is Dylan with the broom and Hannah being Hannah)
It sucks, our time here is definitely flown by with all the planning and studying for this trip, and now we are already to the part of the course where we are doing our final research project! This is crazy...I knew it would come, and coming up with the idea of a research paper and presenting it makes it all the more scarier for me. I freak myself out with saying I'm not smart like the other kids, and I'm definitely not brainy by any means, but if anything I feel like this has been a way to motivate me to think outside the box, and reach out for help and ask questions if I don't know...which is a lot...hopefully Kim and myself can get some good solid material to work with. Im starting to feel like a very green science student on asking the questions, and doing the actual research now, but I know Im far from that, but it is fun putting it into perspective. I love doing stuff like this, and I love feeling like im solving a puzzle, even though I suck at them...Cheers
We were all pretty excited to get out to the crest today and head into deeper water to see some more of the bigger coral structures, and it did not disappoint! But first, my day first started by going out with some other students to get some early snorkeling in with the sunrise, and it was a beautiful morning to be able to see the sun rays come through the water to light up the corals for us even more. It helps me to feel like Im getting more experience with snorkeling and getting more confident in my swimming. Our excitment to get on the boat and head to the outter crest was like a child's! We hollered and laughed all the way there, and once we got to the spot and jumped in it was amazing to see what was underneath. Underneath it felt like a whole new world was happening right in front of me, and almost overwhelming to see all the movements and coral structures that were established there.
I wish I had my camera with me to document the reef the way I saw it, but I will always remember it in my mind and hope that someone else caught the beauty. Im just thankful and grateful I get to see and experience this amazing ecosystem that co-habitats with one another. It has been really cool learning about the inhabitants of the reef and their relationships they have to be able survive with each other and in the reef.
We all were stressing about the test and studying for it the whole time, up until we actually took it...We were all relieved to finally have it over and done with so we could focus on other projects and free time. It was a long day of being in the sun and swimming, and I could feel it...I was tired and crashed mid into writing this blog. We will be doing some more swimming tomorrow due to the weather that would make it hard to get out into the water. Onto the next day!
Once again I was up before my alarm went off today, and I had some time to enjoy the morning by casually waking up and enjoying the sunrise. The day started off with a quick breakfast before meeting up with the other group, "Coral Watch", here on the island for a reef snorkel. Coral Watch introduced us to what methods they use to determine the health of the corals, and what they track and document. It was really simple, and most of us ended up finishing early with more than an hour to spare this time, so we just basically played and soaked up the sun! Saul and myself ventured around for a quick walk and began talking about the trip and how much fun it has been getting to know everyone and join together for the trip, and I learned a lot about Saul and his background and he is a brilliant mind, it was fun chatting with him.
We ventured back to the group and Dylan taught us a thing or two about skipping coral and shells, and apparently there is a whole method on how to get some really good skips from them. That kid cracks me up...such a rebel...I've truly enjoyed getting to know everyone on this trip and the awesome connections we've gained from one another. It is going to be weird when we have to return to our normal lives back home, because we've been together for a short period of time, but have made the most of being with each other. Love these guys!
After some free time, we met back up with Coral Watch to do a reef walk during the low tide. We had some fun -unique personalities that took us around into stations to learn more about the process of the research they do, and I was able to see my first Epaulette Shark today with our tour guide that "Outdoor Jacked" the shark to give us a show. It was awesome to feel the scales of the shark and how smooth they were one way, and how rough they were the other way. These sharks are the only sharks that can move around on land during the low tide. They have these pectoral fins that allow them to use a shimmy motion to get to small pools of water where fish have been trapped, and to prey on the fish that are isolated into the coral during low tide.
What a beautiful way to spend the remainder of the evening with the Coral Watch group learning about their passions to help preserve their corals. It is sad that the corals face so much threat and dangers from the world changing around us...some that we can prevent, and others we cannot. It is just nice to see everyone come together for a cause to share experience and fun while we all have a common goal. Yet another good day in the reef..watching the sunset here is breathtaking
It has been crazy how early I am getting up on the Island, back home in the states it is usually really hard for me to get up at the crack of dawn. Being on the Island has instilled a sense of excitement in me to wake up early and not miss a thing! This morning started off with waking up before my alarm, and heading down to the Jetty with my fellow students, Kim and Sienna. We caught the morning sunrise with entertainment from the squawking seagulls, to the sting rays jumping out of the water and Ed telling us more of his adventures in life--there always seems to be something that I am getting to see and experience every moment here.
We all get the excitement when Trish and Ed say to be "ready and suited" -this means we get to snorkel! We started the day with getting our new lab assignments of gathering video footage of fish abundance in the coral patches, and were then cut loose to our research. Sounds easy, right?! Well, for some reason It was difficult to accomplish such a simple assignment. It just happened to be windy, which then made it harder to stabilize the go pro footage of the reefs. Kamp and myself were partnered together, and we still had a blast laughing at all the things we probably made harder than it should have been. We took our footage from the go pro's, had a good laugh at our mistakes, and then recorded our high tide footage and were off to our next crash course of "Invertebrate's".
I love listening to Trish and Ed lecture, they both have a fascinating and unique way of educating--that makes it fun and easy to learn and ask questions. I've learned so much more than I thought i already "knew", but there are so many talented personalities here that teach me every day I am here...I am so lucky and humbled. We lectured for about and hour and then we "suited" up again for a low tide analysis of the fish abundance. To our surprise, it was MUCH, MUCH, lower than we had anticipated--to where we had to hunch over with our cameras to get the footage of the fish in the corals.
It was fun watching us maneuver around the coral in the footage, you could see the thought process of "how to get the camera around the coral". Kamp and I had footage to work with and noticed a huge change in our findings compared to the morning high tide. The class then recorded all of our findings, and combined it all into one database and we created an excel graph with our results. (I'm learning more about Excel than I ever thought I would need to learn)
The night ended with us going to a presentation from another group here on the Island called, "Coral Watch". They are an awesome group of Faculty, students, and volunteers who spread the word about the coral reef, and how we can save it from present threatening circumstances, even if we don't live anywhere near the reef they are mainly there to educate people about how we can do our part. We have a bunch of amazing students and teachers who want to help educate, but it is hard to feel like people will want to change if it doesn't directly affect them. Maybe we can make a difference, but everything isn't as glamorous as it sounds with the coral reef systems...it's actually quite sad that something as old and amazing as the reef system could be extinct someday. I love this earth and what it has to offer, hopefully others can appreciate what they have--even if it doesnt affect them directly. THANK YOU! :)
Our first official day on the Island was as exciting as the ferry ride over to Herron's research center. All of us students were able to settle in nicely, get fitted for our snorkeling gear, and of course see and experience everything together! We started the day off by waking up early to beat the sunrise for a morning introduction of snorkeling, which to my surprise, everyone was very excited and easy going about being in the water. Like most of the group, we were worried about everything that could go wrong in the water with sharks, rays, etc., but it turned out to be the most relaxing experience being in the water with some experience snorkel divers, to not as experienced--like myself. The day was already off to an incredible start!
Shortly after we had snorkeled for about an hour, we had some breakie and we were off to our first lab assignment. I have to admit I feel inadequate to most of the students here with their knowledge and skills, but the lab was a great experience on having me ask for help and understanding the material after being out of school for so long. I was paired with Sienna and we had name our group "The Assholes". We had a blast trying to figure out how to stake our measuring tape after a couple of attempts of floating to the top, but finally managed a system and we were rewarded with some fun specimens to exam. After we had recorded our findings we then had to enter them into a database sheet from the other groups, and that was an adventure trying to figure out the graphs. During the middle of the excel mess Trisha came into the room saying baby sea turtles had just hatched...we dropped everything and high tailed it to the opposite end of the beach! We were huffing and puffing by the time we got there, and had just missed them unfortunately. It was worth the run and excitement of getting to sea little baby turtles.
We had finished our assignments up and had the rest of the day to relax and use our time to blog, relax, or work on homework. I finished my day off by going to the jetty to see an incredible sunset go down, with colors I have never seen before on a horizon like this. This has been a once and a lifetime opportunity to experience this with an amazing group of skilled individuals, and I cant wait for what the rest of the trip has to offer.
G'day Mates! My name is Tia Jeppesen. I would love to introduce myself about who I am; where I am from, and also blog about this once in a lifetime experience in the beautiful country of Australia.