So today was the day that I was able to finally get in the water! That's not saying too much since we've only been here for a night. We started our day off with a mandatory snorkel trip at sunrise (they'll usually be optional) to make sure our snorkel gear is working well for us. The wind was coming in strong and while I was spitting into my mask to keep it from fogging up, the wind grabbed my one foot shot and hurled it several feet away onto somebody else. They didn't notice and I was embarrassed enough to not make it known that I had done something gross. Sorry fellow classmate.
The water had very low visibility according to Edd, but that didn't keep us from seeing some nifty critters. I got pretty excited that I was able to identify a solid amount of the fish I saw. The most common ones were Bengal Sergeant, Whitetail Dascyllus, and Yellowfin Surgeonfish. We also saw a couple Green Sea Turtles as well! With one of them, I managed to swim a couple feet away from, and he kept glancing back at me like I was a creep. He was right, I was creepin' on him. Sorry dude.
We went over our first lab today. We formed into groups of two and measured the percentage of different substrates along the seafloor. Part of our equipment included a weighted measuring tape that we would stretch out to 15m for our transect line. I laid out transect line, and when we were about to take measurements we couldn't find our line. We spent most of the time searching for it, and eventually Trisha was able to find it for us. Though, I laid out the transect line wrong and had to do it over again. Sorry Laura.
After the lab, most of us went out for a sunset snorkel. The past two trips, my mask would leak some water in and fill my nose so I decided to shave my facial hair off so that my mask would form a better seal around my face. That was difficult for me to do since I haven't been clean shaven in nearly three years. When I entered the water, my mask did the same exact thing. I talked to Edd about it afterwards and he mentioned how it's most likely that the mask that I am using is too small and that I would have to get a new one in the morning. Sorry beard, your sacrifice was in vain.
Also during the sunset snorkel, I was able to see this huge Loggerhead Sea Turtle that was bigger than me in every way possible! He swam around us for a bit, and at one point, swam right under me. It's just awe-inspiring to me to be around such a massive creature in their environment.
The entire cast and crew (students and teachers) of the 2018 WATS 3450 class set sail to Heron Island today. We had an impressive streak of no sea sickness among everyone on our two hour excursion from Gladstone to here. The island itself is quite gorgeous! I didn't get much time to explore since we got here at 4 and the sun starts to set at 5 and most of that time was spent touring the research station and getting our snorkel gear ready for tomorrow. We did manage to make it to the beach for a beautiful sunset where most of us went knee deep in the water searching for any cool critters nearby with our limited amount of sunlight left. We spotted a few fish and several black tip reef sharks patrolling the shore which satisfied my desire of hopping in the water and swimming with them until tomorrow. I wish the sun was out longer for us to explore more of the reef, but I guess that we'll have to wait until the morning before sunrise when we take off for our first snorkel trip out in the reef.