Man I can’t believe it’s our last day here at Heron Island. It’s so weird to think about the fact that we have to be out by 9:00 and we’ll be on a boat 12:30. I’m definitely going to miss this place. Today has been pretty chill. The weather is rather damp and muggy and we’ve had on and off rain sprinkles for the past couple of hours. I woke up early this morning, and wasn’t able to sleep, so I’ve been spending my time reading. Breakfast was eggs, toast, and fruit for me today. Tea time had blueberry (I think) muffins that were really good (of course). Then it was time for the snorkel of the day. Sadly, I couldn’t go, due to certain aspects of women biology causing some issues.
But it’s fine. I actually walked along the beach instead, hoping to get out some of my restless energy. It was fun, even though I got rained on again and it was muggy out. I made it back to the research station all by myself since I lost sight of the group and had enough time to take a quick cold shower. Everyone else here as figured out how to make the water warm but me, so I’ve just been living with cold showers instead. While the rest of the group was out there apparently they saw a big octopus and a 2 meter long green turtle. Once we were back, Pat had lunch ready. They were chicken sandwiches with green onions and this kind of cheesy sauce that was pretty okay. During lunch we were talking about who would be one what flight and going over departure stuff, which made me a little anxious. Then again, I’m always anxious when it comes to that thing.
Then, Brynn, Nora, and I finally got down to business and started practicing our presentation. Well, sort of. Technically Nora and Brynn wanted to divided everything up by section and we all went our separate ways to practice by ourselves. We probably could have done better… and it showed in our presentation. I had been trying to memorize a general outline for what I wanted to say, but I relied on the other two to talk about certain things. They didn’t do what I expected so when it was my turn to finish us all up, I fumbled a lot and I think I might have been the worst speaker in the room. It was really embarrassing, and I was probably a little flushed. I should probably insist more on practicing together than what I did do. But now it’s over, so hopefully all went well.
After that we did a mini awards ceremony, that no one knew about. I mean, we all knew about the Pat challenge (which Nora won for number of pieces and Sam won for weight), but there were certificates that each individual received. A lot of them were sarcastic: the best artist award went to Jeni because she drew a picture for their slideshow that was funny, Zach got one for trying to be a good person when it came to the tiger shark and Hailey, and Nora got the conversation starter one. Kennan got the one for best academics (he’s a 4.0 student with a humungous amount of dedication to his studies). Clark got one for being the most happy, and Katie got the most improvement in swimming award. Russ got the most likely to be seen in the water and not on land award, Hailey got the “not today” award (because she had the close encounter with the tiger shark), Sam got an award called the Ancient Mariner for his far off stare, Cat got the sleeping award (there's been many cat nap jokes here, and she actually “took a break” from napping and Edd likes to bring it up) and Shawn got the human submarine award (since he’s always diving and giving Edd a heart attack when he does). Brynn got the Ansel Adams Photographic Magic (best picture) award.
And guess what I got? I got the “Anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve” award. It was awarded to me because 1: I’ve been the most scaredy cat student here when it comes to stuff but I’ve always done my best to move past the initial fear. 2: Everyone was impressed when I just went for the boat dive even though I seemed skittish about it and wanted to tap out. And 3: Because it’s a J. K. Rowling quote and I have now worn five different Harry Potter shirts while I’ve been here. Just kidding. That wasn't a part of the choosing process. But I honestly have worn that many Harry Potter shirts on the island, so the irony was strong. I even confused poor Zach when I wore my Hufflepuff shirt one day and then my Gryffindor shirt the next. It’s been a running gag here that I’m the Harry Potter girl. I take that title with pride.
Anyways, the awards ceremony was the best part of my day. Soon after that we went to another poor sunset at the Jetty. It rained a little again while we were there, so no sunset for us, but I did take pictures regardless. Dinner was awesome, yet again. For our final night here Pat made us an excellent steak and potatoes dish with veggies and some apricot cake and cream. It was stunning. Tomorrow we’re going to take a picture of him with all of us posing like the people in the Last Supper painting with our breakfast in front of us, so that’s going to be fun. Speaking of tomorrow, it’s going to be busy. I’m going to finish here for today and possibly hang out with people one last time before we split our ways in the morning. Toodles!
Today our group was more or less stuck in the lab from after breakfast (delicious quiches) to after lunch (pasta dish with this beautiful garlic bread). Tea time was apricot and coconut muffins, which have been my second favorite so far (I liked the ones with strawberry jam and apricot the most). We then had to write up our report and make our presentation for our final project that is due tomorrow. That was okay. Oh! Before I forget! I got to witness a baby turtle (probably a loggerhead given the timing and location) get all the way to the ocean last night after dark while I was returning our samples to the ocean. At least he seems to have survived the initial plunge. Everyone else has only seen the baby turtles here bet massacred by birds or sharks, so I count myself as lucky.
We finished our presentation and lab report pretty soon after Mom went to bed, so I just lied low in the library until it was time to take group pictures at the jetty. We got some pretty good pictures in there, so I’m excited to see how they turned out. The whole group just messed around the jetty again today as we waited for the non-existent sunset. The weather’s still been cloudy and windy, but we're going to get one last swim out tomorrow morning around 10 am. Here’s to hoping that it all goes well. After that, we had some excellent dinner, thank you Pat. It was an awesome yellow coconut curry with some rice pilaf and salad. The dessert was to die for, but I can't remember the rather complicated name (smash is a part of it though, and I have the instructions on how to make it- thank you again, Pat!)
Okay, so once again, today was working on group projects. Once again, my group had to wait until low tide (around 4:00 pm today) to go out and collect our samples. Thankfully, today we’ve decided to collect all the rest of our samples out in the field and keep them alive over night by leaving them with the tops open so that we will have stuff in the morning and not have to wait until late again. This will also give us more time to work on our presentations and write up our lab reports. Otherwise, today has been pretty chill. I know Nora saw a group of six baby sea turtles be decimated by some seagulls which made her have a vendetta against the birds for a good chunk of the day. For breakfast I had an omelet with spinach and parmesan in it. It was delicious. Tea time was at 10:30 again here, but this time I didn’t partake since it was salted caramel and coffee flavored, so I grabbed one of the older chocolate coconut muffins to tide me over until lunch.
Lunch was good too, even though it was quesadillas. I ate one but wasn’t that hungry since I haven’t done much around here to stimulate my appetite. After lunch, I hung out with people for a while, until we headed out to go and collect our samples. This time we did two transect lines instead of just one, so we were out there for a little bit longer, but we knew what we were doing so it wasn’t that much longer. It was pretty windy though, which made the water a little annoying. And Nora got pooped on by one of the birds. That sucked for her. We came back, settled into going through everything with the microscopes again until sunset.
Sunset… wasn’t really sunset. There were clouds all over the sky, so we couldn’t even see the sun, and it was still super windy, so it was not fun to be out there at all. I was quickly running back to the research station to get back to work until Dinner came around. Pat has struck again. He made us roast beef, potatoes, veggies, and a mandarin maple cake. Everything, like always it seems, was amazing. I was so stuffed by the end of dinner. And that’s where I am now. I figured I would blog a little early so I can still finish going through samples afterward. Hopefully tomorrow will be more interesting!
Hey, I'm going to keep this short since not much happened today and it's pretty late. Today we started our group projects, which meant Brynn, Nora and I went down to Shark Bay and we collected sediment samples. We have now spent more than four hours in the lab going over each sample, and it's been long and strenuous on the eyes. Thankfully, we had "Welcome to Nightvale" and Panic! at the Disco playing in the background to help us get through it.
The other's have more interesting stories, but for me, the only stuff that happened was group work and lab samples. The rest of the day was waiting for low tide. Sorry my report is so boring!
Also, we had spaghetti tonight (*cue internal pterodactyl screeching because it's spaghetti*) which was absouletly amazing. It made my day ten times better.
Well, that's it folks. I blogged and now it's time to hit the sack.
Okay, guys today’s been eventful in both good and bad ways. That sounds ominous, I know. It sounds worse than it is. So the day started off well enough, with a nice breakfast frittata that had zucchini and bacon in it, which was really good. This lured us all into the false sincerity that today would work out well. Well, the joke was on us, because when we went out to Shark Bay for a coral health lab, we had to cancel the lab before it ever really started. There was a tiger shark out in the water, which isn't good for safety purposes. Trisha called everyone in to stop the lab. It freaked a lot of us out because the shark itself was a good 9 ft or so. All I could see was the shadow of the thing and it was around double Trisha's size!
The was a blessing in disguise, since we were able to get back in time for tea time and grab chocolate coconut muffins before getting an impromptu-ish lecture on what is threatening coral. We have to do a video about it for our final project besides the group project, so it was nice to get a bit more information on it. Lunch was nice too, though it wasn’t my favorite texture. I didn’t eat much of it anyway since I was super full.
After lunch we went to the Blue Pools and Heron’s Bommie for our last scheduled outer reef excursion. It was even better than yesterdays! I saw so many fish and got a fair amount of good footage, though it was still shaky. At Heron’s Bommie, we saw a lot of turtles (the others saw a huge loggerhead, but I once again missed it), one shark, and one eagle ray that I at first mistook for a manta ray because of how huge it was. I got out of the water before everyone else, though, because my nerves were a bit frazzled. There was a fair amount of wind today that kept on dumping water in my snorkel so I would choke and panic. I was able to leave the water soon after so I was okay. I was shivering the whole way home too (it’s been pretty chilly all day, everyone is in their warmest clothes and we’re all still cold). I once again missed a jumping ray. The others say it was a good meter or so out of the water. I'm so jealous that they keep on looking the right direction. All I got to see was the splash. Bummer.
Once we were back we worked on our pre-proposals for out group research projects. Nora, Brynn and I already had our stuff more or less planned out. We were able to get it approved so we’ll be working on that tomorrow. One beautiful sunset later, and an hour to spare, we had a wonderful dinner with this tomato chicken dish. It was so good!!!! Everyone went back for seconds, and some of us (not me, I was stuffed) went back for thirds. There was also this vegetable couscous which was good as well as a spinach salad. Overall, there were a lot of ups and downs today. We’re all pretty tired here. It’s weird to think that we’ve already been here for roughly a week, and we’re leaving on Sunday! It’s just so strange to think about.
Okay, so today has been pretty draining. I woke up exhausted but pulled myself out of bed to get up so I could study a bit more for the test this morning. There was a small break where we had breakfast. It was pancakes, which were so delicious, I was sad when they ran out of them. Good news, the test went well, I got 100% on it, so I feel happy. There was extra credit stuff if we got all the fish, but sadly that didn’t happen for me. I still got 51/51 so I’m good with that. We had the rest of the morning after that to hang around. I know some of the others went to the resort gift shop, but I went to go and chill in the library, so I could read for a bit. Kennan was in there with me. He’s a cool guy too.
Eventually we all met up for lunch so we could eat and boy was today a treat! Pat was great and made us what I think was naan bread pizza. It was so good, and was just what we needed before we had to head out on another outer reef excursion. Today I was a little more prepared for what we were doing. As such, I didn’t have as hard of a time getting in the boat nor a problem with holding on to the sides. Even backflipping off of the boat was easier this time, since I knew what to expect. I also didn’t have a lot of water go into my snorkel. One bummer though, was that I didn’t get a GoPro this time since everyone else was already using the ones we had available. That was a bit sad.
It was really cool today. We went to two new locations along the reef and it was nice and sunny out so we could see more. The first one was called Coral Canyons because there are these canyons in the coral that divide two different parts of it. It was super cool because we could see the different layers between the coral. There were also a lot of fish out. Since we had just taken the test I could also name a lot more than usual. It’s been really awesome out there. Lots of parrot fish and a fair amount of rabbitfish too. At the second sight, we came across even more types of fish. There were at least six cleaning stations that I passed, and all were busy. Russ and Hailey kept on being hounded by one of the fish that they had disturbed. It was so funny. Russ is a really big guy that can be intimidating and there he was being chased around by a fish almost a thousandth of his size. I was dying! There were also around five turtles that I saw too! One even got up really close to me since I was just floating and if I had wanted to (or been allowed to) I could have touched it!!!! It was so amazing!
A few moments later I even saw a white tipped shark swim past me, as well as a big grouper just at the edge of my visibility. At least, I think it was a grouper. I asked Edd about the general size and he suggested it might be a grouper. I had to tap out pretty soon after, since I was pooped, so I headed to the boat to hang with Nora and Brynn who had tapped out too. We left fairly soon after, and once I showered and changed into my clothes I had enough time to socialize with some of the others in the lab. After that, we had another sunset at the jetty, which was nice, and we even saw a black tipped shark and a few sting rays. This is also when Edd and Trish told us that they made a mistake in our manual. Apparently the cowhead stingray is actually the cow tail stingray. Shame on them.
We just ate food, which was some awesome pilaf, chicken, cheesy veggies, and a great bite of dessert. We have a late lecture tonight, so I figured I would rush to get this done before that started, since I know I’m going to be out like a light as soon as lecture is done. So that’s all for now!
Okay, so today has been wild. We had some breakfast before quickly jumping in the water to do part of our fish lab while it was still high tide. We went to Attenborough’s Point (where he first filmed one of his documentaries and has done so again more recently) where we climbed over the rock ridge and into the water. It wasn’t anything super spectacular, and the lab was fairly hard. Basically we laid these transects down in the water and then videoed all the fish we saw along it using the GoPro. However, it was fairly windy out so we were being tossed about a little bit, though it wasn’t a whole lot. It was hard to keep the camera steady and swim at a slow pace with it like that outside, but it worked out well enough. I was partnered with Clark today, who hasn’t used GoPros before but now he seems fairly comfortable with it so I count that as a win. He’s really awesome and we were even able to talk Undertale and Pokemon for a little bit.
After the first part of the field work was done, we went back to the lab and watched our videos to try and identify and categorize all the fish that we caught in the water. It didn’t take as long as I thought it would, but we had a fair amount of sandy patches along both of our transect lines so I think it must have been that. We were even back in time for tea time here at the research station. Pat is amazing and made these apricot cinnamon muffins with strawberry jelly blobs (but no tea for me thank you). It was so good, and I think one of the guys actually cried. After that, we were all just working on things until lunch or singing the Bohemian Rhapsody. It was really fun to sing to that song since some of us aren’t great singers. Lunch was a good sub sandwich with chicken and tomato that was awesome, and once again Pat is amazing.
We headed back out into the field after that to take low tide videos. These were so much easier, but still kind of tiring. They are really working us hard here. I know a good number of us are more or less passing out on the bed at nights. Russ, Sam, and Zach even caught a cold of sorts, where they are really congested. They were assigned in a group today so we’ve been teasing that they are in quarantine on and off. It’s been fun. They take it in good humour and even make the jokes themselves sometimes. We once again had to look at the videos and this time we did the rest of the work and wrote up our lab reports. Once again, we hung out and generally tried to study for our test tomorrow. It’s gonna be a rough one because of the scientific names. I’m hoping I can remember more of the fish section than I am currently able to. Well, we’ll see how it goes tomorrow.
Sunset was at the jetty like usual, but this time the scUber was there and it made all the marine animals that were usually swimming about avoid the area. I mean, there was still a cuddle puddle of sting rays and a few sharks out there, but not much else. It was very annoying, and I don’t know why they offer a submarine uber here??? It doesn’t really make any sense, but to each their own I guess. Dinner was wonderful and beyond words. Pat made this delicious beef and potato dish that was absolutely divine, and there was a good side of broccoli that was calling my name! And dessert was even better!!! It was an apple tart. I was in heaven. I can die peacefully now. But seriously guys, Pat needs to write a cookbook or something because what he does is amazing. And he’s super nice too! Brynn, Clark, Hailey, and I talked with him for a little yesterday, and he’s really chill.
Well, I think that’s all for tonight. I really have to study. Talk to you all tomorrow!
Hey, everyone, I’m exhausted from our outer reef trip today, so I’m probably going to keep this pretty short. The weather here was fairly cloudy and windy, so we didn’t do a whole lot- except brainstorm research projects (I’m working with Nora on something involving sediment samples. I’ll probably talk more about it on a different day). We went to our lecture on fish, where we talked about the history and evolution of the fish that normally live on the reefs. We also talked about what types of common fish we would see out in the reef. It was a really cool lecture, and we got to watch a lot of cool videos explaining interesting characteristics of the fish. There is this one fish (a type of Labridae) that has an unhinged jaw so the entire jaw folds out to suck their food in like a vacuum. It’s really gross but fascinating to watch. There’s also rabbit fish that change color, so that was cool. At the end of lecture, we had a little bit more time before lunch where we watched this guy talk about cuttlefish really sarcastically. It was pretty dang funny. (I’ll put a link below for those of you who are curious. The guy who narrates is freaking hilarious!)
So after a quick lunch that I don’t quite know how to describe (it was like a burrito and a chimichanga at the same time but different and really, really good), we got booted and suited and headed out to the boat that would take us to the outer reef. They guy who drives the boat is pretty great and really chill. I think his name was Tom, but I can’t be too sure since my memory isn’t great when it comes to names. He was nice enough to drop us off at this amazing spot in the outer reef where there is a lot of wildlife. It was scary getting in the water, since I didn’t know what to expect. However, with some encouragement from the rest of the group, I took a leap of faith, almost literally! I had to let myself fall backwards into the water and roll out of the boat. It was really weird but kind of fun!
We all had GoPros on this adventure, so I took a fair amount of footage while I swam. Some of it is a bit shaky, but overall I was impressed by how well it turned out. I was expecting a lot worse! It was amazing down there. We were swimming through basically clouds of fish. There were so many different types of coral. I was able to see all types of fish too! There were damselfish, unicorn fish (which look as weird as they sound), and I even saw an anemone fish this time (I saw a cinnamon clownfish before, so I am counting myself as really lucky)! There were also a lot of bright blue fish swimming around, and there was a type of coral that seemed to be the a similar shade, which was really awesome. The current got pretty strong though, so it was a struggle to get out of the water and back onto the boat.
We headed to another location closer to the jetty after that, and went to this bommie (named after a big lump of coral) and swam around there as well. I was a little more reluctant this time to get out of the boat, but eventually I was enticed to jump back into the water. It was even more busy down there. I think there were twice as many schools of fish floating around us, and there were jellies everywhere! We even saw a shark, and I think I may have caught it on camera but I’m not sure. It was really close to us too, so that was a bit terrifyingly cool as well. I eventually ducked out before the rest of the class and headed back to the boat, where I was able to catch a sea turtle coming up for a breath of air fairly close to us. Once again, it was amazing. I thought I got that on camera too, but when I looked at the footage for it, I don’t think I caught it with the camera in time, so that was kind of a bummer.
When we were back on land, all of us were more or less wiped out. We all hung in the lab or were napping until dinner where we ate this good pasta bake (sorta) made by Pat. It was mousse again tonight, so I opted for a coconut banana muffin for dessert, and it was lovely as usual. The man is a great chef, we were talking about how he needs to compete in a cooking show or something. That’s more or less what we’ve done today. It’s been raining on and off, even while we were out in the water, so that’s been going on while I’ve been writing as well. I think I’ll sign off now, talk to you all later!
Okay, so comparatively, today was pretty chill for all of us. The weather wasn’t great, with large billows of wind constantly hitting us in the face. Since there was so much wind, we couldn’t really do much in the water. So when it came time for the morning snorkel I decided to opt out, but still head down to the beach with the group. I waited on a rock for them to come back, which didn’t take long. Apparently visibility was basically zero and Russ even got chest bumped by a turtle (I’m totally jealous even though it probably hurt). That was pretty funny, and we’ve all been bringing it up throughout the day.
Breakfast was great as usual, and I had an egg sandwich with a great muffin. I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms, which was the side for the meal, so that’s what I stuck with eating. After that we headed into the lab for our lecture on invertebrates. Originally today was supposed to be spent on our fish lab, but, once again, due to the weather, we rescheduled it to be about invertebrates. The lecture was fascinating, but a bit redundant. I’ve learned about all the phylogenies before in my Biology 2 class at CWI, which was before I started attending USU. We learned about stuff with a fair amount of depth, so I wasn’t really learning much, but it was great for review.
After that lesson it was time to get to work. We went out to Shark Bay (in which we saw no sharks despite the name), and started to collect sediment samples to study in the lab. It was hard work since the wind was a nightmare. Edd was teasing us and videoed my partner (Zach for this lab) and I as we butted heads a few times because the water kept pushing us into each other. It was hard to get the samples since you have to plunge it into the earth, get enough of a sample, put the stopper in, then gently pull out the plunger so that you don’t lose anything and turn it over and pour it into a bag. It sounds super easy but it isn’t when there is low visibility and waves buffeting you at every turn. But, we didn’t take too long to do it regardless. I had the magic touch when it came to pushing the plunger in to take the sample so we worked quickly once we found a good reef patch to start with.
Once we were changed into our clothes and back in the lab, we were putting those samples under microscopes to look at all the small invertebrates under the microscope. It was amazing! There were small annelids (worms) squirming all over and arthropods (“insects” sort of but not really) skittering all over the petri dishes. We had large enough samples that it took a while to work through. I didn't want to stop for lunch when I was reminded that we hadn't eaten yet. It was a good thing they got me out of the lab to eat too, since we had these awesome sandwiches today (like pulled pork with parmesan on sub sandwich style bread) and some really great banana muffins.
Anyways, we were soon back in the lab and finishing up our samples (I so loved doing this, it got my inner microbiologist ramping up since these creatures can be as small as a millimeter long. We had to pick them out with tweezers and pipettes) before creating data spreadsheets and our lab reports. I’ll spare you the details since they would probably bore you unlike me. We were singing while working and making jokes, and honestly it was one of the best labs I have been in.
After we were finally done, which was around 4:30 or so, some of the group went to try and snorkel again. I didn’t go with them. I could see enough from the jetty, so I didn't feel too bad about not being in the water. There were so many sting rays out today! And there were these tiny baby sharks that were so freaking cute!!! There even was another turtle! It was super cloudy, which didn’t make for a great sunset, but here are some pictures anyway.
After that, we had food again, this time it was this weird beef stew like thing, with some heavenly (and I mean heavenly) garlic potatoes. The dessert was chocolate mousse, which I tried a bit, and didn’t like. So I handed it over to the guys so they could fight over it. But now we're all just chilling around. Tomorrow's going to be busy, so I think that's enough here for today.
-Okay, so before I start on today’s stuff, I just wanna say that when I went stargazing with some of the others it was so amazing. The night sky was covered with stars. Edd mentioned that what we were seeing was part of the Milky Way. We also caught sight of something that might have been Jupiter while we were out there. We also discovered that Russ has wicked sense of humor too. He doesn’t talk much, but when he does he drops some dang good one liners. The stars out there were overwhelmingly beautiful, and it was almost spiritual in a sense. I definitely recommend doing some serious stargazing here.
Now, today started with us getting ready to go out for a morning snorkel around 6:15 am. The morning was nice and cool, and the water felt great when we were in it. And boy did we see just what we were hoping for! There had to have been over a dozen cow headed stingrays out there with us. We even caught sight of a spotted eagle ray too later on. And there were turtles everywhere! I went still enough in the water that one got almost a foot away from me until it swam off. It was amazing! I could see almost all the details on its shell. It was by far one of my favorite parts of the day. Being that close to a turtle is just something else. There were at least three black tipped sharks, a wobbegong shark, one guitar shark, and over a hundred jellyfish. The jellyfish were really small, and we couldn’t figure out what they were at first until Edd and Trish let us know that they were. Some people in our group got stung by them, but luckily I wasn’t.
After that we got a nice breakfast of eggs benedict, bacon, toast, and fruit. Vegemite was also on the table and some of the brave souls in our group took a bite of it with toast and made the funniest faces. They all think it’s disgusting. Edd says it’s a “acquired taste”. With breakfast done, it was time for us to learn about reef morphology. We learned a lot about different types of coral, formations of coral, how coral eats, and about the evolutionary history of coral. It was really neat to learn about coral, and Trisha is super passionate about it too, so that made it all the more fun.
After a great lunch of chicken nachos and tea time muffins, one of which was snatched out of Brynn’s hand by two cohorting seagulls, we went out and did our first lab for the week. This one was about benthic covering in the lagoon. We were supposed to be snorkeling for it, but the tide was really low today, so we were actually able to act like it was a reef walk, which meant no stuffy wet-suit so that was great! We basically put on swimsuits, rash guards, and some wet shoes and went out and laid down these interesting looking quadrats (plastic pipes and string) to figure out what percentage of our transect line (a straight line going forward into the lagoon toward the reef flat) is filled with coral, sediment, rock, or algae. It was pretty dang awesome. I really loved doing this, and it’s actually a thing that they do a lot in the field. It’s looking more and more like I might actually want to go into field work later in life, so that’s pretty dang exciting for me.
Anyways, after we did three transect lines we walked all the way back to the research center and used the data we found to make a spreadsheet to try and figure out how the different distributions of each group was along the reef. We were trying to prove what we learned in lecture about benthic coverage since we talked a lot about what kinds of organisms can live in the shallow areas if they are coral, and how unlikely you are to see a lot of coral close to shore because they become Kentucky Fried Coral (there were so many bad puns shared during this venture).
Now I just need to take a moment to do this since I keep on using the word cool, and I almost used it here as well.
Let’s see… this trip has been (and we’re only on day two so far!)…
Breathtaking? Ooh that’s a good word, definitely a check there.
(There are actually two rays in this picture, see if you can spot the hidden one)
Check, check, check, check, and check!
Anyways! After our lab reports were done, we all headed to the jetty to watch the sunset again. It was still really amazing, and this time there was clouds which made the whole area have really beautiful lighting. There were a bunch of eagle rays out tonight too, so we could see them all flying together in the water along with a few sharks and a lot of sea turtles (*internal and external squealing with joy*).
When we got back for dinner I'm pretty sure most of us had died. You know how I said Pat is amazing? Yeah, I take that back. He is a food deity. Heck, at least four of us have plans to start a mini religion for Pat dedicated to worshiping him and his food. I don't blame them. I might even join them in building a sand statue of the guy. The ocean is probably made of tears of joy for his cooking around here. Let's not forget the fact that Brynn lost her tea time muffin to a couple of seagulls that sneak attacked her to get to the thing. The birds know what is going on, they know Pat's cooking is good.
He made this awesome quinoa vegetable rice and this good chicken dish that reminds me of the god-like version of tikki masala. And you won't believe what he made for desert! Apple. Freaking. Strawberry cake with this creme sauce. We were all crying over the food, I kid you not. It was beautiful. There were these chunks of apples and strawberries in it, and it was the perfect texture with the creme and it made both my mouth and my stomach so happy to eat. Life has been so great here on the island. I'm so glad that I came here to get this experience.