Today started off with a beautiful early-morning swim. Josh and I were the only students who wanted to swim this morning, so Edd took us out to the boat channel at 6:30. The water was crystal clear and we saw a lot of fun things. There were sting rays, an octopus, lots of fishes, and my first shark! Josh even saw a few squids. We got back and ate a quick breakfast with the group, and then all of us hopped on a little boat to take a trip to the outer reef (also known as the spot where Nemo touched the butt).
The outer reef is absolutely incredible. It has hundreds of colors and is completely full of life. I don't think talking about it can ever do it justice. I would upload some photos, but every single video I took on my GoPro was unusable. I need to practice my underwater videography skills for sure. I did capture the turtle buddy above though!
After lunch, Edd gave us a turbo-speed lecture on ocean invertebrates. There are so many of them! They're seriously so cool. Post-lecture, we walked over to Shark Bay to do some coral color identification for Coral Watch (coralwatch.org, check it out my dudes). That was really fun. We just walked around during low tide to catalog the colors of different coral patches. Coral Watch will use the data, along with data from volunteers around the globe, to assess coral health. It's pretty neat.
In the evening most of the group went for a sunset swim, but I decided to sit it out because I was feeling pretty hammered. Trisha and I watched the sunset from the end of the dock instead, and we watched the beasties in the water below.
Dinner was incredible, as always. Pat outdoes himself with every meal, I swear. I always think he won't be able to do any better than the day before, but somehow he always does. Every meal is a delight, and I've been eating way too much here.
After dinner a group of us walked down to the beach to look at the stars.
Oh. My. Gosh.
Let me tell you, I've seen plenty of night skies before, but none like this one. Heron Island is so far from any sort of civilization that we saw the milky way across the entire sky, and the stars were brighter and more plentiful than I have ever seen. I could have stared at them all night. It's so dark here that we could actually see the glow of the coast of Australia in the distant west. It's also really fun to see all the new constellations. This might be rubbish, but I swear my brain can tell that the something, aka the constellations, are different even though I don't have the Utah night sky memorized by any means. The photographers came to the beach with us and captured some really astounding photos. I got some excellent pictures of black nothingness, so that's almost as cool.
Today was amazing, I'd say. We're heading to the outer reef again tomorrow, so I'll try to get some better footage. Cheers!
There's nothing better than a pair of boobies"