Today was windy as all get out. In the photo above, I am not wearing any kind of ponytail. Wind only. The picture really doesn't do it justice. The wind is practically nonexistent at the station because the trees act as such an effective barrier. Unfortunately, we were forced to leave said barrier multiple times today, and we almost got blown into (or out of) the ocean. It was super fun.
I decided to participate in the morning snorkel before breakfast today, which was beautiful. We swam straight out to the edge of the reef to look at the drop-off. We saw a big guitar shark (which are super cool, you should look them up) and lots of other things.
Later in the afternoon we (my research group--our name is Shark Bae) grudgingly tromped out to Research Beach to take out final set of data. We thought we were done, but Trisha and Edd gently suggested that more data might be in our best interest. It actually wasn't bad at all. The water was warm and there was no rain or anything. The only bad part was the wind. The waves got pretty big, and there were definitely white caps on the water. It wasn't dangerous or anything, but it was extremely inconvenient for data collection that required us to hover in one spot for minutes at a time. It only ended up taking us about 1.5 hours though, so it wasn't nearly as long as yesterday. When I tried to get out of the water, the rock on the shore was so slick with algae and the waves were so big that I kept getting knocked over, even though I was only like two feet from dry sand. It was pretty funny, and honestly it was still really fun. I never regret getting in the water here.
When we got back to camp, we rinsed off and started working on our lab report. We made some quality graphs, which I will include for your edification. Our project was based on sand burrows of fish. Basically, there are two main types of fish that burrow in the lagoon here, so we tested to see whether they had different burrow patterns in relationship to the corals. Our hypothesis was that the sandperch, which has a pointy nose, would burrow closer to the coral, where sand grains are bigger. We confirmed our hypothesis in two of the three areas where we took samples, so that's cool I guess.
We walked to the jetty to watch the sunset, and the wind was totally insane. The picture above honestly does not do it justice. It was the type of wind where you can lean into it and it will support you. It was also fun to watch all the turtles come in for shelter. We saw six turtles from the dock, but I guess Josh and Edd (who were snorkeling) saw a whopping 18 turtles, which is bonkers.
After dinner, Trisha and Edd, being the super nice people that they are, sat down with a group of us to talk about what it actually takes to get where they are. It was nice to have someone actually lay down facts about possible career paths in research. I can't believe there's so much that no one really ever told me. There are two different types of Master's degrees!
Most of us spend a couple of hours playing cards after that. I'm really glad that card games have caught on with the group, because I seriously love both card games and these people. I'm starting to get kind of sad that I'm leaving in just a few days.
Overall, today was another excellent day. We've got a good start on our project, I didn't drown in the ocean, and I still haven't caught the nasty cold bug that's traveling around the girls' room. That's an accomplishment, considering how close we all are all the time!