Today has felt like a vacation more than the rest of our time here. All we had to do this morning was our presentation which went pretty well. Great job Sienna and Bryce for getting the best presentation award. They studied how much time cleaner wrasse spent cleaning fish of different sizes. It was an awesome study!
For the rest of the day we played hide and go seek tag and swam in the lagoon. Swimming by the spotted eagle rays and the turtles was for sure my favorite. I also love that the parrot fish let me get so close to them.
I have learned to make deliberate decisions during this trip. To make deliberate choices surrounding my faith and my school work. I have also realized that I can do anything I want to do. If I want to study fish in foreign countries, I can. A main reason people have a hard time being scientists is because they don’t know how to fail, but that is a part of life and a part of the scientific process. Nothing successful comes before a failure. My goal is to master the art of failure. I am so grateful for everyone who has helped me out to get here. I am especially grateful to my God for blessing me with opportunities and showing me the joy of dancing in the waves.
As my time at Heron Island is coming to a close, I am taking advantage of every moment to get in the lagoon. This is especially true because all we have scheduled these days is to work on our presentations and reports. We are getting a little stir crazy sitting inside.
At about 2:30 we went out for a swim on the conservation side of the island. Up to this point, I had only been to the research side. This was a real treat because I saw so many new things! One of my favorites was the clownfish. In one spot, there were two Barrier reef anemone fish in a leathery sea anemone. They were so cute swimming by each other. In another spot, there were some cinnamon clownfish in another anemone. Clown fish are weird! Did you know that the male will become a female if its partner dies? Newsflash! Nemo’s dad is really a girl! 😲 Man, ocean life is weird – but that is why I love it!
Once Colt and I swam back to shore, we were waiting for everyone else to get back. I decided to stick my head under and swim around by shore for a little bit. A whole school of parrotfish came up and started munching on the dead coral around. It was so cool because they let me get really close and I could hear their beaks scraping the rock. I am really glad these guys don’t eat meat because a munch from one of them would really hurt!
Eventually Trisha swam back and told us there was an octopus back by Ed. I sprinted straight off because I didn’t want to miss out on all of the fun. When I was about 100 meters away, I looked up and saw a black tip reef shark swimming away. Boy, that was an exciting moment because I hadn’t yet spotted one on my own! I chased after him for a little bit, but he was too fast for me. I thought it was ironic that I was chasing a shark. When I got to where the octopus was, he had stuffed himself into a hole and turned the stark white color of the sand. He really wanted to be left alone, so we left. I felt like I had a lot of really good luck on this swim with spotting wildlife.
The other highlight of my day was the beautiful sunset. Trisha told us about that as well. I really appreciate that she always makes a point of telling us when cool things are happening and is sure not to leave anyone out. I have been able to see a lot of cool things because of her.
Well folks, it’s been real telling you about all of the experiences from today. If you aren’t a little bit jealous, then I haven’t done my job. Stay curious, friends!
We did a lot of video analysis today. I mean, a lot… and we only got through two hours of footage. There were so many new fish to identify! It was so exciting to actually figure out a fish that was giving us a hard time! It was also really cool when stingrays went by in the picture. In one instance, a ray just flew over the camera and we could see the whole underside of it. That was a real treat.
After we did all of this work, we spoke with Ed and Trisha, and they suggested that we just analyze the bite marks on the herbivore assays rather than go through a bunch of footage for our class presentation. That was a real bummer because I love going through those videos.
After we found this out, Ed decided to go for a swim and Saul, Colt, and I decided to go with him. Even though I have so much to do, I have decided to just enjoy every moment on this island. I mean, when am I going to come back here again? I really hope that I am able to as a researcher one day, but that is a long way off. I have decided to stop letting my business control my life. If there is something out there to experience, grab on to it, because you never know when you will get the chance again. Savor the little things in life that make it enjoyable.
Ed got the crap scared out of him by a shark while we were out swimming. He dove down to check out a little hole and out comes a shark that barrels right toward his face and veers off to the right. Yeah, that one startled him quite a bit, but it made for a fantastic story. I am pretty sure Saul got his face on video afterward as well. That, I really want to see. 😉
It’s been a great day! I can’t believe we only have two more days here! Don’t forget, savor every moment!