I have spent so much time in the water I am beginning to feel like a fish. Up until this point we have had pristine weather conditions for our water outings. The wind has picked up so much that our research site in the protected lagoon is now white capped. It was bad, but we had a job to do and this time Audrey and I were on our own. We made our plan to deal with it and headed out. The 200 meter swim was a real smoker. My legs where burning only 50 meters off shore but I pushed on. At our transect lines it was so violent it took all I had to just manage the bucket while Audrey set the cameras and lettuce. We did our best to stay close and find our individual sample sites as quickly as possible. While she was setting I would move the next 10 meters, get the equipment ready, and dig in for the upcoming boxing match with the bucket. Every few seconds another wave came crashing in, often pushing me right off my feet and back a meter. Occasionally a big one would come in and the bucket half full of water, weighing approximately 20lbs would smack me right in the face ringing my bell. Audrey was a saint taking it back in so all I had to do was make it to shore. Fortuitously we had more help going back out to take it all down and the wind had subsided a bit. I have never been so grateful to be done collecting data. Once we where all packed up and sure that we had everything we put out there the five of us that went out had to get the hundred or so pounds of gear back to shore. We had three bucket carriers and two of us flanking to cleanup anything that fell out as we worked back toward shore. About half way back we where swarmed by hundreds of large jack fish that appeared to be fleeing. Then all the rays unbedded and started fleeing as well. We all paused, looked at each other underwater with big eyes that uniformly said, "We need to get the hell out of this water!" What only took a matter of minutes seemed like forever kicking as hard as possible. At one point a guitar shark just about headbutted me as it too was fleeing the area, but we both turned left and I screamed my first expletives underwater as I thought I was a goner before I was able to recognize him. He clearly wasn't the threat. I tucked my head and continued straight to shore, no time to think about it. Back on land we all caught our breath and eventually laughed at the experience. It was nerve racking to say the least but something I'm glad I experienced. I have always respected the ocean, much more so now.