Today was pretty nice, it was windy as all get out. But that didn't deter us from trying to soak up some rays of sun. This involved myself, Holly, Rachel and Logan attempting to lay on the beach with the oh-so-subtle pelting of sand grains to keep us company. Safe to say we are nice and exfoliated now.
Chase and I set out to find some Epaulette's after lunch. We got "suited an booted" and headed out to North Beach. We wanted to study an area with lots of coral patches as we hypothesize that with the increase in the presence of coral the Epaulette abundance will also increase. The waves in the water today were quite rough, so snorkeling turned out to be a bit of an issue. Finally we decided that trying to swim against the current looking for Epaulette sharks was a complete waste and flipped ourselves around and floated at the surface and let the current push us along as we examined the sea floor. This was all fun and games until we decided to get out of the water and head back to the station. Getting out of the water with fins on is a rather interesting game, the fins usually win. I was at the point where I had to get out of the water as it was too shallow to snorkel, so I stood up and began walking backwards awkwardly. Out of nowhere Chase yells to me that there is a giant cowhead stingray right to the side of me, so I dipped my face in the water to check it out and low and behold there was not one but two giant cowhead stingrays lounging in the sand maybe an inch from each of my feet. This was a little unnerving to me to look into the water and have two sets of large eyes staring right back. Safe to say we kept our faces in the water as long as we could. Chase saw one Epaulette before we even got into the water, and we didn't see any while we were snorkeling around.
The scuba crew didn't come back to the station until a little after four, so after the adventure Chase and I had in the ocean we had a few more hours of free time. The buildings on the station block the wind for the most part, so I decided to sit outside in the sun for a while as it was a lot nicer at the station than it was on the beach. This was nice and warm and everything was grand until I became a show and tell exhibit for a group of tourists staying at the resort that were being given a tour of the station. There I sat on my little towel in my swimsuit looking like a drowned rat with a bunch of camera lenses pointed in my direction.
I will be signing autographs the next few days until we leave if you want to get in line.
To help you get an idea of the demographic for tourists on the island think about residents of a nursing home taking an extravagant vacation to an Island in the middle of nowhere but envision the folks to be rather spry for their age. Or maybe they just look spry because they can afford good skin care products. Either way, there you have it.
I don't know that I have talked about the seagulls here yet, but they are loud and weird and extremely aggressive. As I was sitting outside being a tourist attraction I watched the birds snatch an entire muffin and a slice of pizza from members of the group. They have a freaky sixth sense of anyone coming out of the cafeteria. They will get you in seconds if you bring food out of the building. They also do this weird thing with their necks that I wish I could explain. I guess it must be them trying to assert some type of area dominance to the other birds but it really looks like they have some sort of extender that they can use on command. Basically they walk around like angry speed-walking soccer moms who are late for carpool and then forget that they were also supposed to bring juice boxes so they make a mad run to the store only to find out that the juice is sold out. Lengthy description but you get it. Like a California Gull on steroids.
The sun begins to set around here at 4:45pm-ish. Chase and I headed back out to North Beach to do the second part of our data collection...seeing how many Epaulette's we can observe at night. This time the tide was a lot lower so we just waded around in the water trying to count and film the sharks as we saw them. The thing about sharks is, that they can sense where you are in the water before you even catch a glimpse of them. So, this makes it pretty hard to catch them doing normal fishy things. Usually when you do see them the sound of you walking in the water towards them is enough to convince them they should leave. We counted 10 sharks in about a half hour of observing the water so we are pretty confident that North Beach will be a good observation area to estimate the abundance of Epaulette's at two times each day.
After our second field survey for the day we were left with about an hour before dinner. I went into the bathroom to wash the sea water from my legs. I stumbled upon a shear water bird that wandered into the bathroom and couldn't figure out how to get out. There isn't much that freaks me out more than a bird that is trapped in a place it shouldn't be. At home we sometimes have birds that get stuck in our garage if we leave the doors open long enough..unfortunately though here on the island I can't just yell for my dad to come get it out. I tried everything I could to get the little dude to come out from the stall to no avail. I had to then go gather recruits..which apparently Susie is some bird whisperer. The little dude was safe and sound once she came into the picture.
After the bird incident it was dinner time. Pat fixed us some fancy food which we happily ate and then a few of us sat down to play cards. We played a few rounds of a game I don't know how to spell and then a few more of BS.
Tomorrow the winds are rumored to be higher than today which will be interesting. Tomorrow is also our last lecture. After that we are just solely working in our project groups until Saturday.
Anyway, all in all a good day.
A few basic things you should know about me: 1. I really like my Chacos, doggos, and fish friends. (not to eat them of course).