Time is a really weird thing here, I have been consistently waking up at 4 AM which if I am calculating the time difference is noon, a day behind, back at home. So, I guess my body is just wanting an afternoon snack about that time. Silly little thing.
Today started out bright and squirrely at 6:00 in the blessed AM. We all went on a snorkel induction in the Harbor and got out into the water at 6:30 AM. It was quite windy as we were in the water which created rather large waves. I should preface the rest of the story by telling you that snorkeling has made me rather anxious in the past. So..I did what everyone always tells you to do when it comes to facing fears, which is to just get out there and do it. It was a great first swim, I didn't have any problems other than getting some water up my snorkel once. We saw a large range of fish species and encountered our first turtle. Which, if I am not mistaken was a Green Turtle. I thought about hitching a ride with him like Nemo did but decided to let him off easy this time.
After the morning swim we had a large breakfast which gave us plenty of energy to keep adventuring. We had planned to have a lecture after lunch, but one of the cables that is required to run the projector and the lecture equipment properly was damaged (darn it) and Edd and Trisha moved things around and had us embark on our first field experiment. We donned our wet suits and fins again and headed out to research beach with a 15 meter transect line, a half meter quadrat, a GoPro camera, and a waterproof slate and pencil. I was partnered with Riley for this project, and we hypothesized that the percent coverage of coral would decrease as we increased in distance from the reef crest. We were heading out to the area we wanted to start surveying when we realized that our transect line was missing, so we switched gears for a bit and with Trisha's help were able to recover the line. While most of the time I would call this a mistake, it turned out to be a pretty neat experience. I saw my first Parrot Fish, which if you don't know what this is I highly encourage you to pop that dude into Google. The Parrot Fish is a very pretty fish that is a lot larger than I thought it would be.
After we finished the field work we came back to the station to strip out of the wet suits and break for lunch. The lunch discussion was practically non-existent as we were all quite hungry. After lunch we headed back into the lab as we now needed to analyze the data that we collected earlier in the field. We were able to get all of the information into excel, graph it for substrate averages, and standard errors. The substrates that we were examining the presence of were: Algae, Coral, Bare Sand, Bare Rock and CCA. I would tell you what CCA was if I could remember. We concluded that our hypothesis was wrong for the presence of coral but entirely right for the presence of bare rock, which significantly increased with distance from the reef crest. After we got all of the data imputed and formulated we were then given the task of writing a lab report for the field day. We finished the report and Edd told us that if we wanted to join him for a short night swim to catch the sunset we should head back to the showers to gather our gear which we had hung to dry a few hours prior. A good portion of the group went out for the swim, this is where I was able to see two more turtles today. One of which was a massive Loggerhead Turtle, it passed by in what seemed like slow-motion.
After the third snorkel of the day we got cleaned up and ready for dinner. Pat went all out tonight and fixed us a lovely roast with potatoes. That dude, we love him. It has been an action packed day for us, good thing we have Pat to keep us living after spending a lot of time in the water.
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).