Presentations are my worst nightmare...that and squirrels. I have nightmare about suddenly loosing my clothes in the middle of a presentation and just dying inside. Hopefully neither of those things will happen tomorrow for the sake of everyone's eyes. I feel like our presentation is pretty god and completely done so there is nothing to worry about. I can't help but remember that this trip is almost over which is depressing but I should just think that we made the most of it so far and we still have two more days!!! Today I found out what type of sea hare Robert is, if you don' know who is Robert then read below :), he corresponds to the Aplysia dactyloma species of sea hares that are found in seal Rocks, New South whales, Australia according to the world atlas of marine fauna. I spent half the day looking through the sea slug chapter and the nudibranchs. Then I spent another while trying to figure out what Robert was until I found his cute butt, which is black and relevant, on one of the species pictures and realized it was his species!! The black booty was a requisite and he had it so score!! Aside from my fun with the marina atlas I worked on the project, slept, ate, showered and went on an awesome moon shadow hunt with Edd and Tia. I have to say, moon shadows are WAY better than normal boring light shadows. It's like the queen of light and shadows...? Well the moon is amazing and it is even more amazing because it means that I get to go to bed without being judge for sleeping too much.
P.S. This is why I hate squirrels!!!!!
I've been sitting with Hanna and Dylan for over an hour and watching them do their project is one of the most entertaining thins I have ever done. It is currently 10:56pm which is the latest I have been up or at least out of bed for the past couple of weeks and it is hitting me hard! Audrey just came into the study room told me she was fluffy as we hugged and then went to bed (might not be exactly how it happened). I'm sitting here trying really hard to think of something to write about and thenI realized, I have a lot of things to be thankful for. As I cross days out of the calendar and leaving the Island gets closer I realize how much I have enjoyed every minute of this trip. All the weird things we talk about, the occasional fart/burp you hear but are not quite sure where it came from and when you are it's far to awkward to acknowledge, all the different personalities we have that still get along, and the facial expressions Trisha and Edd have of "what did we get into" when they hear our stories our thoughts about our daily adventures. I almost feel like we will all become a series of dinner table stories they will tell their family members which is something I hope actually happens and hope if fills up all those awkward silences that happen at dinner tables far too often. In different ways everyone here has taught me something but one of the best things I've learned in this trip is that there is always something to laugh about. We don't take ourselves too seriously which I think is something that has helped us get along so well. We spent half this trip laughing, mostly about Hanna's weird/great obsession with ferrets and #FERRETFINGERS, and the other half learning cool things about corals, fishes and the ocean. I am thankful for each and everyone of my WATS 3450 class mates and instructors but most of all I am thankful for Robert (the sea hare at the touch tank) who lets me man handle him without inking on him...yet.
P.S. This is a picture of Robert's cousin, Richard. Unfortunately Robert is asleep right no so I'll have to wait to get a picture tomorrow. Meanwhile enjoy Richard The Sea hare. :) You are welcome!
Hanna lied to me AGAIN!!! she told me she would play cards with me but did we play cards...NO! Now she is saying sorry and making up excuses!!!!! (NOT actually mad) and then she did #FERRETFINGERS! I even taught her how to dance Bachata and her little "white hips" got tired, In quotes because it was something she said of course. Also Dylan insists of misspelling anything that has to do with my name or me which I guess is understandable? He spelled my name "Mylissa" which was funny/frustrating because you can see my name up there on the "more" tab but after I told him he nicely changed it and the made a post about it where he spelled my name wrong AGAIN!!! He went from Mylissa to Mellisa which is close but not close enough. The excuse he gave me when he realized his spelling error was that he was trying to spell it Brazilian which I am NOT so for Dyland and anyone else who has any trouble reading the huge name above it is spelled MELISSA and please never call me Lissa... Thank you (insert hair flip here) . If you thought Dylan's persecution of hate towards me stopped there you were wrong, he then went on to spell "Columbia" instead of COLOMBIA and this is an actual issue for a lot of people...so many that in Colombia you can find T-shirts that say "It's COLOMBIA not Columbia" at airports and other stores which makes this especially funny. Anyway Today was another day filled with beautiful sceneries and marine wildlife. The difference is that now I can actually name most fish as I see them. I saw a black-eye thicklip (something melapresus or something) today and it was super cool because I didn't realize that their "young" stage was freaking huge! I had a lot of fun snorkelling in the conservation zone today even if I was so cold that my body was shivering underwater. I had a buddy and I did not want him to miss out on stuff just because I was cold so I pushed through and it was worth it. I can't believe this trip is almost over, I have met great people that I can share experiences with and that I will be able still annoy when we get back to Utah. Hopefully by then everyone will be able to spell my name. :)
S. I AM NOT MAD AT DYLAN OR HANNA! Things might be overly dramatic and exaggerated except all his spelling errors those... those are very true. Love them tho!
Final Research projects are starting and Saul(project buddy) and I are working on micro plastics!! Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastics that have either broken down form big pieces of plastic or have washed off into the ocean by things like shower gel, shampoo, toothpaste and other bathroom things. I was excited about this project and then I discovered how much zoom the microscope has so now I am SUPER excited. I was in the lab for 120 min sorting out plastic from sand samples we collected on the beach after that i just ate a lot and that was pretty much my day. At the end we watched a cool movie by Planet Earth called fresh water, these people make REALLY intense movies. They use the most dramatic songs ever like in scary movies, they just go like tan tan tan TAAAAAN!! And then you die... but anyways I want to have morning swim tomorrow at 6:30am and if I keep typing I won't wake up at all so goodnight weebly :)
Traveling is always a challenge for me...not because I'm scared of getting lost or missing my flight but because I ALWAYS forget to pack something that is fairly important. One time it was underwear another time it was toothpaste, and another time it was the citizen card that allows me entrance into Mexico City. This time it was shorts which would not be much of an issue if I wasn't on and Island and the trip wasn't pretty much all around the beach so yeah I forgot to pack any type of shorts. The good thing was that I realized that a couple of hours into my flight from LA to Brisbane and since I had 7 hours of layover to kill I decided I would go to the nearest mall and get some shorts. Once I got to Brisbane I did all the airport related stuff I had to do and took a bus to the nearest mall which was about a 10 min ride. I found cool shorts and kept shopping cuz well I like shopping #sorrydad. After that well I took my flight to Gladstone and blah blah blah now I'm at Heron Island with my cool, comfy shorts. Those shorts were my "go to" shorts... and then they flew off the boat. How? well I left my shorts on the seat of the boat we took to go snorkeling, the boat moved, it got windy and bye bye shorts. The only thing Ben (the nice boat driver) said was "Oh looks like you've lost your shorts". Yes, I know It is a pretty traumatic event. The worst part about the whole thing is that all I can think about now is that my shorts are out there contaminating the ocean and killing cute fishes... way to go Melissa! Shoutout to Hanna for letting me borrow her green shorts when I thought I had nothing to wear as pants/shorts and also for being a ferret, and shoutout to my suitcase for hiding another pair of shorts that I bought that day and completely forgot about! oh and snorkeling was great!
I PASSED THE TEST!!! well we all did so YAY US!! For those who might not know what I am talking about here it goes,,, We (WATS 3450 students) had to take a test that included from stars to corals to sea stars and a lot other species, you thought Australia would be all fun and games but no we actually do work. It was great! I thought I was going to do awful and maybe get a 30% if I was lucky but I am glad I was very wrong (insert dancing emoji here) We spent the last two days studying for this test of about 50 species and envying Sarit for knowing every freaking fish... like can I borrow your bran please?! The way the test was sept up was very unique and actually made it fun, so not only did we have to memorize cool, vibrant species and their scientific name but the test almost seemed like a difficult game. I have loved this trip so far, not just all the swimming but also the lectures and everything we have learned. I have not had this much fun in a class ever! Trisha and Ed will forever go down on the list as the coolest teachers for having the most unique class/experience you can ask for. We started the day with open ocean snorkeling and within 5 minutes of being in the water Tia (my snorkeling buddy) and I saw a beautiful green sea turtle. He was amazing, he seemed to be gliding through the water instead of swimming. There is something about the ocean that has always made me feel very peaceful and relaxed, unless I'm thinking about getting attacked by a shark but I normally try to avoid that. I love sea turtles and the fact that I can be in the presence of a species that has been around for millions of years humbles me. These creatures take my breath away every time I see them and make me realize how lucky we are to have the ocean and these species. It is amazing to think how much life there is going on under all that blue water and how much we take for granted every day. The things that we do out in our normal lives come back to hunt all of them when they are simply existing. Seeing them so unclose has definitely made me more aware of all the work we need to do to keep them safe and made me understand why it is all so worth it.
P.S. I accidentally deleted my first post with a picture, I cried a little. Enjoy the picture that made me cry...
Sunny sunny SUNNY Australia! Today we had more free time than we usually do and it was great! I spent it tanning, swimming and getting lost. Knowing where I am has never really been a skill of mine. I get lost frequently which is frustrating but mostly pretty interesting. I get lost becuase I am almost never paying attention to where I am going but I follow the herd and the herd, it doesn't really matter if they know where they are going or not just that if we get lost then it's together. The problem comes when I find myself alone and decide to use dead birds on the road as markers along a path... DON'T DO THIS AT HOME! It does NOT work, IT DOES NOT WORK! This Island is very small you can supposedly go around it in an hour or so, I know you are wondering how I manage to get lost in an Island that pretty much has three paths to follow but I guess that IS my skill. Getting lost everywhere. I took one of the few paths to go to the beach, one that we had take earlier today. I found myself walking forever and wondering if I was going the right way, I then came across a dead bird in the middle of the road that had scared me earlier because ew and also because I didn't want to step on it. I thought that bird meant that I was going down the right path...NOP it just means that bird is dead. What was supposed to be a 5min walk turned into a 30-40 min walk. I was very lost so i decided to stop staring at my feet that were trying to avoid stepping on all the dead birds on the floor and I saw a light tunnel coming from the side of the grove of trees and followed it out. I had found the beach! Well I found A beach not THE beach I needed but I knew that I would eventually find my people if I just kept walking along the beach and not in the grove of trees where I could see nothing but trees and dead birds. While I was lost I saw a lot of guitar sharks mostly babies (cuteeee), fish schools and a beautiful scenery. From all the years of experience I have with getting lost I have learned that it is the best way you have to get to know a place. My greatest adventures have been while I am lost and also my biggest panic attacks.
P.S: I did find my people :)
Fish ID Lab was todays activity. This lab made me realized that I have to study for my species or fish test a lot more, and when I say a lot I mean A LOT MORE!!! People were naming fishes here and there and I was all like "oh yeah that's a fish." After a couple of fishes I got the hang of it but I'm glad I got that heads up. Now that I know damsel fish and butterfly fish I can picture myself during snorkeling going "ohh look a damsel fish" obviously muffled by that breathing tube that still has no name in my mind. I didn't see any rays today which is cool because that just means that I didn't manage to have about a billion mini heart attacks as they approached me. Which brings me to my picture. That picture with a random hot air balloon represents the distance rays should have from me. Rays and squirrels. Mostly squirrels but you get the picture. :)
This is probably the first picture I took here which pretty much sums up every other picture I have taken after. A beautiful background with a lot of people in it. I admit that coming here made me nervous, well honestly every volunteer related trip or any trip I have made that involves me meeting strangers directly makes me nervous. Why? maybe because sometimes I talk a lot and other times not enough or maybe because I am strangely terrified of squirrels. I really don't know why and maybe won't ever find out but I do know that having the right people with you on trips really makes a difference. We probably all have the same picture and that's great because when I look back at it I won't only remember the Island but I will remember the people I had beside me when my mask kept sliding down letting water into my eyes and the tube that gave me air kept sinking backwards into the water and I kept slightly drowning while trying to play it cool as the smooth snorkeler that I am not. It was a great first adventure!
I am Colombian, if you scare me I will scream in Spanish... trust me it is possible. I am an Environmental studies major and I really like cake preferably vegan. I apologize in advanced for my horrible grammar and spelling, I could lie and blame it on the "English as a second language" thing but It's not that it's me.