I awake a bit nauseous. I have mixed feelings, and it ails my stomach. I am to be at the final dive for the morning, but I do not feel well enough to go. Though I likely should have, I decided to stay and rest a little bit longer and prepare for the remainder of the day.
As the other students arrive back from their dives, I have already packed my belongings. I drift between a state of relief and sadness. I am ready to sleep in my own bedroom again, but know that I will likely never return to the island. I head to breakfast upon these thoughts.
I arrive to eat, but decide I am not hungry. Instead, I try to distract myself with my Nintendo handheld device, though the batter only lasts for a few minutes and I turn it off. I sit in silence until lunch. I think of my presentation due, if I have forgotten to pack anything, and what the good and bad moments of the island were. I am very stressed for my conflicted feelings.
As lunch comes, I decide to skip that as well, coming in only to inform my presentation partner that he may find me in the library. I pull out my phone and speak with my friend about unrelated topics to distract myself, though eventually my partner does come and we must practice our speech one more time.
It is approximately 1:30 PM at this point, and we present to an empty library. Our presentation goes well, and we feel content enough to speak without many issues. At this point, we are informed that some of the other students had invited us to play card games with them, and decide it may be nice to play. We play for approximately 40 minutes before another student comes in to interview us for a project she is partaking, and a few of us stop to be interviewed before we finish our game.
There was a dive supposedly scheduled at approximately 4:00 PM that I had blanked upon. Again, I debate if I should go. This is my absolute last chance to swim in the ocean here, but I cannot get myself to go. It would be too emotionally conflicting for me. I decide to stay again.
I spend more time thinking. I truly enjoyed the ability to partake in science in the environment. I must laugh every day at the pure anger of seagulls to the fun moments with the new friends I have made on the island. I enjoyed forcing myself into the water, as I would have missed so much had I decided not to send in my application to come to the island. It does not mean the trip was easy, but I have no regrets on my trip, and I did with it what I feel would stay with me forever.
Today, I even skip supper. I have had no food today, yet I am still not feeling hungry. I skip supper again, and after the others eat we are ready to present at approximately 7:00 PM.
All presentations go well, and though I feel I could have improved, I believe it went well enough for a good grade. After presentations the professors give each student an award for something they believe we have accomplished above all other students. I received the award for the most improvement in swimming. I chuckle silently to myself, still thinking of my swimming as a less-than-flattering imitation of a fish trying to flop from a dock back to water, but I admittedly do feel as though I have improved since my first day.
The students and the professors then spend time having a competition to compare how much trash each student has collected over the trip as a pseudo competition. I found only a sandal, and commend other students for finding much more than I did. The class totaled more than 3 kilograms by the end of the weight tally. I am impressed.
The subsequent hour involves the students and professors cleaning up all the laboratories and the library. I spend most of my time cleaning the chairs. All goes well.
After we clean, the other students wish to take a walk one last time on the beach. I join them, but not for the total duration they remain out. I am still sad knowing that I will need to leave in the morning. I stare at the sky for at least twenty to thirty minutes. I see many stars and the galaxy. I am filled with awe, and feel the immensity of the universe wrapping itself around me like a blanket. I see the stars wave at me, and I wave back. The night sky blesses me with the presence of a brief, but gorgeous, falling star. I smile sadly to myself, and turn to head back to my dorm for the night. As I leave, I send my silence thanks to the earth and the island for supporting me.
I head back to my room, thinking about my trip. I cannot say that I have regrets. My actions were purposeful, and the folly that arose from them were surely justified. I know that I can leave the island content with my progression as a student and as a person. It was an unforgettable experience worth a lifetime in it's own.
I want to say a special thanks to the the professors who made this trip possible for me. I wish to thank the other students for providing a nice atmosphere of livelihood and happiness. I wish to thank my parents, who support me in all that I do, and for giving me the life that I can only hope to fill with accomplice. Thank you for spending your time to read through my post(s).
When I return home, I will be updating my blog to account for the missing images on my blog regarding the island. I need to organize my folder of images and pick out some of the really cool ones to show everyone. Until then, I'd like to finish this post with one of my favorite terrestrial mammals in Australia. For those who know me, you already can guess what it is. Have a good night, everyone!
I am very tired when I wake, getting out of bed only about a minute before breakfast. The SAS does a wonderful job in incentivizing me to get out of bed. Though I received more sleep last night than I have in the previous few days, I still wanted to stay in bed. I eat toast and cereal for breakfast.
After breakfast I meet with my partner and finish our lab report. This takes us about two hours to do before my partner goes out for a swim. I take a break as well after continuing for a few minutes after he leaves. It is a little before lunch before my partner returns, and we decide to eat lunch before we continue. I, however, skip lunch.
When my partner finishes, we continue with our report. The report is almost finished when he arrives, and we spend only a few more minutes working with it.
After finishing our report, we begin our lab presentation we are required to give tomorrow. We do not finish until approximately 8:30 PM.
Today went by very quickly, with relatively little free time. Much of our day was working on the project, so I apologize for the short report.
I am graciously awoken by the Seagull Alarm Service (now to be named SAS) at approximately 7:00 AM, and prepare myself for breakfast.
Similar to yesterday, due to our requirement of high tide to collect data, we have time in the morning to prepare ourselves. My partner and I still debate as to whether or not we should make one final trip during high tide to see if we can collect more data. Yesterday was already a very difficult day to collect data with, and today is supposed to be even worse. I am not fond to collect more data today, but today would be better than the remainder of days we have, and I know that 10 samples is very few, even for a small project like this.
We have another morning lecture after breakfast, and everything goes well. After lecture, my partner and I begin to write the introduction and methods portion of our experiment before lunch, which occurs at 12:30 PM. I take my apple, and I leave to sit to myself for a few minutes before everyone returns from lunch. It is nice to sit in silence.
My partner returns to me, and informs us that we should prepare for the next high tide. We continue writing for another 20 minutes, then we prepare to leave for high tide. We leave about an hour early to find an ideal spot and to map our plan of action with the brutal waters. Then, we enter the water.
The water is not cold today, however, less clear than I am accustomed to. One of the first things I see is an absolutely gigantic school of fairly decent-sized parrotfish, all looking at me simultaneously. I couldn't help but laugh quietly to myself. We were off to a good start, with one school presenting themselves to us.
At first, I am fine in the water. I am patient with the waves, but after thirty minutes I begin to get very restless very quickly. My feet cramp from swimming, and it is hard to keep myself in a location that I want to stay in. I was not recording the time today, so I could not always follow his movements. Normally I record what we do, as well as what the fish do while my partner records his personal observations. This day, I left my camera so that I could swim better. I can only imagine how difficult it was for him to write today.
I continuously look around to see if there are any larger animals nearby. Normally we see sharks, rays, and even turtles. Today, however, I see only mostly small fishes.
After a sickening ride in the water, my partner informs me he has collected a few more samples. We still do not have many, but with how time-restricted we are, we must analyze what we can get. We return to shore, which is very difficult today with the large layers of slippery rocks and the waves constantly battering you into the surrounding sharp rocks. I eventually get out, as does my partner fortunately.
I return to my dorm, however my partner goes with others to swim again. He enjoys swimming more than I do. I shower, dry myself, and return to the lab. I spend one hour again to calm myself and relax before my partner returns and supper begins.
My partner and I decide that we will take all of tomorrow to analyze our data, as it will be our only free day from now on. Supper is well, and I take myself a small portion of meat before leaving the cafeteria. I debate on what I wish to do.
I see Aimee and her camera crew recording something with the fish tanks here, and they invite me to watch and help. It was very fun to see professional photographers and videographers work with their equipment. They are very skilled, and what I see as an okay photo they see ways to improve it still. I help with lighting mostly, but I always look at how they operate the cameras. Photography has always been something that has interested me greatly, and I had wished to beocme a photographer when I was younger, but had decided and promised to myself that I would simply take that on as a hobby when I can afford it.
After helping, I meet with some of the other students to play some games of cards before bed. I finish this blog at 11:08 PM.
Totally was mostly productive. I awake at approximately 7:00 AM, with my routine alarm blaring outside the windows (yes, the birds act as my new alarm). Little is more sanguine in the morning than multiple angry seagulls ripping their vocals out at each other at precisely the same time every morning.
Breakfast was routine with me, having eaten my portion of toast, milk, and so forth. As many of the students required high tide to perform their experiments, many of us took as much of the morning off as we could. Many of us lounged outside talking.
We do have lecture, though only for one hour. Lunch begins, and the line to get through the door to the cafeteria is worse than New York Traffic at rush hour. As with many of the days here on the island, I do not eat lunch. I sit with the other students for a few minutes and have a drink of water or two, but then leave to seat myself in someplace more quiet. The island has many great places to sit to myself, and I take advantage of them to think when I need to.
I play a game on my laptop for a little bit, then prepare myself for the high tide data collection. I was uncertain as to how many schools of Parrotfish we would find, but was surprised when I entered the water. I suppose I never looked hard enough for parrotfish the days prior to today for parrotfish, but we found more schools than we needed. Unfortunately, there was a catch.
Today was very stormy, with rain, dark skies, and hefty wind and currents. Being in the water was very difficult, especially when attempting to record data on moving fishes for several minutes per school. My partner and I were fortunate enough not to be rained on while we were in the water, however, and we saw no lightning or thunder, and we therefore stayed in the water for approximately two hours, until which high tide was beginning to recede.
Due to the adverse weather conditions, we only collected the data on ten schools of parrotfish that day, with the currents propelling us very quickly among the perimeter of the island (and fortunately not away from it).
As we leave the water, we debate as to whether we should attempt to collect more samples tomorrow. We ask this because the weather is presumably going to get exponentially worse every day up until Saturday, which would leave us no time to finish our analysis or to practice our presentation on our data.
We input our data into a spreadsheet, write a few sentences of our introduction, and lounge for the remainder of the day. Supper, after all, was only minutes away from our return time.
After dinner, I speak with some of my friends back home, and play some cards with the other students here until I head to bed.
I woke up at 7:00 AM and immediately put on my swimwear. At 7:30 is when the our experiment site will be at peak low tide. My partner similarly gets ready, and we are at the dredge site on time.
The wind is choppy at the site, and the water is not the most calm, though it is not as bad as I have seen. I set up my camera, and we record what we need to for the first sight with little to no issues. We are finished after ten minutes in the water, having collected our first twenty photos before the tide has shifted enough for us to need to catch the next low tide for the dredge.
Despite the tide rising, we had decided to go a secondary site nevertheless and take footage of slightly rising tides in our secondary area, just to have something to compare our first site with when we return back. The second site is very similar to the first in terms of water quality.
After our series of images, we return to the lab to analyze them and to wait for the next opportune moment to return to the water. I extract our photos onto my laptop, but we do not look at them quite yet, as we have lecture a few minutes after I extract the photos.
Lecture goes well, and takes approximately one hour to complete. After lecture, my partner decides to take a short nap, and I spend some time relaxing as well, though I do not take a nap.
My partner returns after approximately one hour, letting me know that our project is not going to happen, and that we need to speak with our professors again. I am confused, but he informs me that our professors are on their way to speak with us. As it turns out, the only dredge site on the island is under strict regulations, and it impedes upon our ability to collect any more data, and requires us to change our project. This is unfortunate news to me.
After speaking with our professors, we decide that our alternative project regarding Parrotfish diet is able to be conducted. This project involves us entering at high tide at the lagoon to monitor schools of parrotfish and what they are eating so that we can broaden our personal understanding of parrotfish diet.
Fortunately, high tide was conveniently only approximately fifteen minutes from when we finished speaking with our professors, so we immediately suit ourselves to head back into the water, which is arguably much less easygoing than my previous swimming experience. The water was very evidently moving, with strong wave movement and high wind.
We enter the water, which is much colder than what I was fifteen minutes ago, and I am not pleased with chilling myself up again, but enter the water regardless. We record two schools of parrotfish during our first session, before deciding that the water was much too difficult to work in for our swim strength, and we return to shore.
I shower and dry myself. I also notice that one pair of my water pants is gone, and I search for a few minutes searching for it, but I am unable to find it. I am down to one pair of water pants, which is not good.
Again, I extract the photos to my laptop. We do not assess our data yet, as our results were very skewed given our lack of visibility and ability to maintain ourselves, so we decide to catch the next tide and prepare ourselves better.
I spend much of the rest of the day relaxing, as today was our designated relaxation day. I have every intention to catch up on sleep tonight. Other than that, today has been fairly productive, though our data needs to be reworked due to the unfortunate water circumstances.
I've decided to remove superfluous and unnecessary information from my blog posts from now on. It has occurred to me that when I wake up and what I eat is highly irrelevant, so I will attempt to provide a briefer summary of my day.
Yesterday was fairly solid. The food, lectures, and swims were as fun as the previous, but with little more to say than what I already have. The weather was beautiful, and I enjoyed working in the windy heat in the shade when I could.
The one catch for yesterday, however, was when the students were required to speak with the professors regarding the final project they wanted to complete by the end of the trip. The students are required to collect short-term legitimate data on fishes, fauna, ecological relations, or something of similar nature. Each student may work either alone with up to two other individuals, maxing at three individuals per project.
Personally, I wanted to work with sediment data and expand upon a project we had to work on previously, where we would take underwater sand samples at several meter intervals at random coral patches in the inner reef during low tide. Our objective was to calculate if organisms would become more or less abundant closer or farther from coral patches, given that many of the underwater organisms are important for carbon sequestration in the sand, typically resulting coarser sand and providing oxygenated patches under the surface of the sand that may benefit corals or other sand-dwellers.
However, with the complexity that I was attempting to expand this project, it was evident I would not have conclusive evidence in the few remaining days I have here. Even so, I would have preferred a partner to work with, given we are not allowed in or near water without having at least one partner, and it would inconvenience other people if I were to continuously ask for them to sacrifice their time to work with me on my own project.
Fortunately, there was another student who similarly was unable to find a group with which to situate himself with, and so we decided to come up with a project on our own. After speaking for a few minutes, we had decided that we wanted to work with salps, which are small planktonic organisms that merely drift with the sea and are unable to propel themselves at all.
We did not have any further ideas, so we confronted our professor to see if he had any suggestions as to what we could do. Our professor admitted that the amount of salps during his time in this trip is much higher than what he has ever previously recalled, and that having a project regarding them could be interesting.
After speaking for at least half an hour, we had a goal for our project. Our goal was to determine whether or not dredging sites drastically effect pelagic organisms, where we would focus our efforts on watching salps on varying low-tides: receding and rising borders. We are to compare salp densities inside and outside dredge sites by taking images at 30 second itervals for ten minutes in random parts of each site. By taking 30 second intervals, we can reduce the risk of recounting the same organism.
At this time, it was already 10:00 PM, and we go to bed content that we have a project, but we are very tired.
I awake at 7:00 AM and dress myself. I am to be at breakfast at 7:30 AM. I eat toast, fruit, and a vanilla pancake.
After breakfast, I brush my teeth, shave, and clean myself for the day. I begin to study for my exam independently for a few minutes before we have lecture at 8:30 AM. Lecture goes well.
I leave for the library and study with three other students. We review fishes and other marine life required, and we study until five minutes before 12. I return to the lab three minutes early to take my examination. I feel apprehensive.
We are given two hours to complete the lecture. We are given a little over fifty images to identify with both common and scientific names from. I finish at three minutes under two hours. I leave feeling relieved that the exam is done, but am uncertain how well I have done.
After the exam. We have some free time, but will leave at 1:30 PM for another swim alongside a deeper end of the reef. I apply sunscreen and pack my belongings for the reef.
Similar to yesterday, we board our small watercraft and leave. Our swim goes well, and I see many different types of corals and fishes from our last reef excursion, which was at a different part of the reef. We are placed with the current against our movements, but fortunately we are not placed too far from current-neutral waters, and we swim well for the remainder of the reef trip.
At this point, I am very tired for the day, and approach the boat before many other students, and I sit and relax while the other students begin to board. We arrive at the island a little past 3:30 PM. I shower, put on dry clothing, and decide to relax for the rest of the afternoon, as today was one of our only days without afternoon assignments. I sit and play a game on my laptop for one and a half hours until dinner at 6:00.
Susie, another student on her trip, was having her birthday celebrated today. We had decided to ask the chef to bake her a cake and surprise her for when she arrives at the kitchen. Everything goes well, and the food and cake were magnificent.
At 8:00 PM, we begin a movie. I have never heard of it, nor do I know the rating (I assume rated R), but it was called "The Island." During this film, I write this blog post, heavily distracted. The film ends at 10:00 PM. I am off to bed.
I awake at 7:00 AM, and ready myself for breakfast at 7:30 AM. We are to eat and leave to swim by 8:30 AM. I get ready, and wait for the cafeteria to open. For breakfast, I eat fruit, toast, and cereal. return to my room to pick up my swimming equipment.
I am dressed and await for the others for our departure. We will swim in open water, approximately a ten minute boat ride from the island, passed the inner proportions of the reef. Everyone arrives, and we set off for the docks.
I bring sunscreen, my camera, and wear my swimwear to the beach. When we reach the beach, we see a small boat waiting for us. We are instructed to leave anything we do not require, as they will get wet and perhaps fall off the boat. I leave my glasses and my towel.
We walk from the beach into the boat, which cannot get too close to the shoreline without getting marooned. It is difficult for me to see without my glasses, as both of my eyes are less than ideal and sitting worse than -7.0 vision for each eye, and I approach the boat slowly. My professors are behind me to help guide me.
I climb upon the boat and find a seat. Given the size of the boat, I was technically sitting on the edge of the small boat, and needed to find handles to grasp when we began to move. My belongings were under my feet, and I had not applied sunscreen yet.
We depart the beach slowly, but move quickly after the docks. I must hold on to prevent falling either into the boat or out of it. The breeze felt very nice, but I acquired a small headache without my glasses. I see nothing but silhouettes and blue tint around me.
We stop moving, and we are informed on how to exit (jump) from the boat. I let others jump before me, as it was difficult for me to see. I prepare my goggles (we have been taught to line the inside of our goggles with saliva, which helps to prevent fogging in the lenses) and put on my flippers. My partner today is one of my professors, who has graciously offered to stay with me if I need anything.
I exit the boat by holding my mask to my face, and fall backwards off the side of the boat, landing on my back and plunging into the water. I wait for my water suit to lift me back to the surface before I clear my snorkel. The water was warm and pleasant. There are only mild waves as I situate myself. The water is very clear to my surprise, despite our distance from shore.
I begin to swim. There were many fishes and tons of coral, entire beds that I swim above. It is very colorful and pretty. My confidence has risen in the water since my first day, and though I am no expert, I am able to move much more efficiently and quickly through the water. I seldom have issues with my mask or snorkel.
I watch my professors dive very deep into the water, and am excited to see how far they can go down. I wish to join them, but I am much too inexperienced and sluggish in the water. I see other students attempt to dive as well, but very get very far, as it appears some of them are less apt in water as well.
I decide to attempt to dive, despite my multiple layers of water clothes and wet suit providing me with generous portions of buoyancy. I am unsuccessful, and make loud noises as I splash, but I feel I understood what I did incorrectly. I watch my professors dive more, and attempt to mimic their techniques.
I am able to submerge myself underwater, but I still require much force to keep myself below the surface of the water. Even so, I cannot hold my breath for as long as them, and instead continue practicing with my limits. I get better, but still require much practice.
After swimming for approximately an hour and a half, and following students along the reef, we return to the boat, and I again seat myself similarly as before. I do not take off my goggles, however, so that I may see a little better. My goggles are prescription, and work, to an extent, as an awkward replacement for my glasses.
We arrive upon shore at approximately 11:30 AM. I realize I forgot to apply sunscreen, but I fortunately do not burn from what I can tell. I thank my professors for taking their time in staying with me today, and return to grab my dry clothing and shower.
At 12:00 PM, everyone eats. I decide not to have lunch and instead grab only an apple. I import the photos I have taken to my computer and view them. At 1:30 PM, we have another lecture and lab.
Lecture was pleasant, and we afterwards are instructed to put on some of our clothing that we do not mind getting wet, as we are to head to the low-tide shore and take random samples of coral health for a community science program called Coral Watch.
We leave at approximately 3:00 PM, if I recall correctly. I bring my sunscreen and basic water shoes, as well as a UV resistant shirt and pants. I am assigned another partner, and we meet upon the beach. I step into a shaded area and apply sunscreen.
Before we enter the water, we take a large group photo and basic promotional shots for Aimee Tallian, one of my favorite professors at Utah State University. She is attempting to put together a virtual tour for kids to learn about different ecosystems. You can learn more about Aimee, her work, and more at https://www.ourworldofwildlife.com/
When we are finished, we walk into the water. The water is very cold in comparison to the deeper parts of the reef, but a fair portion of the coral is above the surface of the water and I do not get very wet above my knees. Coral Watch requires us only to look at random coral patches (of which there are many) and record approximate colors given a palette to choose from. We require the lightest and darkest shades of the coral, including white for dead, dying, or simply white coral. We take twenty samples, and depart to the lab, where we take a few moments to input our data. We are finished at about 4:30 PM.
When we return, I put on warm clothing, and the other students who had finished decided to go on another group afternoon swim until supper, which was to be at 6:30 PM. I do not swim, but I follow them to the shoreline with my camera. I wish to set up a time lapse of the sunset. I managed to get the footage for the time lapse, but I will require time to process it into video format. It is windy, and I need to hold my hands above my camera to prevent the wind from pushing it into the water, as it was not waterproof and I had opted for the docks.
I return at approximately 6:00 PM, where I begin to write my blogs. At 6:30 PM, I enter the cafeteria to eat. I eat much tonight, having exactly six portions of food. I ate rice and what I assume to be Swedish meatballs. They were very good. After dinner, I spend the next hour and a half (right now) writing my blogs. I will study for my exam tomorrow, for which I have found little time to study for. I am hoping I will do alright. My exam is species identification with scientific names. I have taken many classes that require this, but memorization is not my strongest quality. I am hoping to do well nevertheless.
I woke at 6:40 AM, with most people in my dorm having left to swim already. I get dressed and head to the lab where I had left my belongings the previous night and where I set my camera to charge. I have not used my camera until today, and I spend until 8 AM figuring how to use it, though I leave it in the lab for later use.
I wait outside until approximately 8:30 AM, to which the cafeteria opened for us to eat. Many of the other students were waiting as well, having just returned from their morning swim. I eat cereal, fruit, and toast, and drink lime-flavored water. I eat slowly and at 9:15 AM I leave.
Class begins at 9:30 AM, so I socialize for a few minutes. For class, we dress ourselves in our wet suits to take sand samples at varying distance intervals from blotches of coral. My fins were unusually tight today, and I was slow to swim to our sample site. We are assigned one partner.
Unfortunately, the transect tape we were assigned was internally knotted without our realization, and we were unable to use this transect line, and we waited for another group to finish before we take our samples. As this occurs, I swim to shore to fix my fins, which had begun cramping my feet. As I was doing so, it came to my realization that my partner had already been taking the samples we required and was swimming back to shore to meet me.
We return at approximately 11:30 AM, and we dry off and prepare for lunch. I talk to my professor regarding my fin issue, and we change them out for a larger size to see if that fixes the issue. We would know the next time I enter the water.
At 12:00 PM, we eat lunch. I do not each much, taking two apples with me and eat them. I leave lunch early and relax until 1:30 PM, to which my partner and I returned to the lab to analyze our sand samples. We were to calculate how many small organisms we could find in our samples in correspondence of each sample distance. We find 11 organisms in our sample, with little evidence to deduce anything.
We clean our stations, and begin writing our lab report for the assignment, which is to be graded. We work until approximately 4:00 PM, to which we leave for an optional swim. My professor wishes to do a solo dive with me to assist me in swimming techniques and to assure I remain calm in the water.
Practice goes well, as do the larger flippers. The water was very calm and clear, making our swim very pleasant and slow. I see many fishes and even a 7-foot sea-turtle sleeping only two to three meters below me. It was very nice.
We return at 6:00 PM. I shower, and rest until supper at 6:30 PM. Similar to lunch time, I was not terribly hungry, and I eat some fruit only. I leave early again, and begin writing my blog for tonight. I do not get far, and at 7:30 we have lecture.
I was very tired during lecture. I noticed my eyes drifting on occasion, but I attempt to remain awake for as long as I could. I was very tired after two swims and lab work. Otherwise, lecture was pleasant, and we finish at 8:30.
My partner and I finish our lab reports, and I am asleep by 9 PM.
I arose at 5:30 AM, after having overslept my 4:30 Alarm. We were to be in our gear by 6:30 AM and ready to swim. I finish making minor edits to yesterday's post on my laptop, and meet at the rendezvous site a few minutes early. Others arrive, and we leave for the waters.
We arrive along the shoreline, most students eager to swim. I was feeling anxious, but confident. I am not accustomed to being in or around bodies of water, and therefore being in oceanic water was not of great comfort to me. We are given a brief introduction in how to approach the water and swim. I enter the water last, slow with my flippers. The water was choppy due to the wind.
I begin swimming fine, but the shock of the relatively cool water in comparison to my bed was enough for me to breath and move irregularly enough for me to be uncomfortable. It was in my best intentions to remain as calm as I was able, as I knew problems accumulate through thrashing.
I get passed the dock where we had arrived at yesterday, but I was beginning to have water enter my snorkel. I am uncertain if the water was due to waves splashing into the top of the mouthpiece or whether I was merely unable to properly clasp my mouth around the mouthpiece. I was beginning to flail.
Fortunately, my professors noticed struggling and assisted me. I was escorted back to shallower water to where I was able to stand safely if necessary, and I was better taught some techniques to swim. Despite the shallow water, there were many fishes that swam below and around us. We saw squid, stingrays, and various other colorful fishes. I was beginning to calm again, but I was still uncomfortable for the remaining hour of the swim.
We leave the water. I walk behind the group on the way back to our rooms to get ready for breakfast, listening to the other students speak about many of the animals they had seen in the deeper water. It was good to hear their excitement, it helped calm me, though I was angry at myself for not being a strong enough swimmer to join them. Nevertheless, at the time, I just wanted to shower and eat.
My shower helped calm me. I put on dry clothes and headed to breakfast. I was surprisingly cold this morning, so I put on a jacket. Breakfast was very good for me. I ate toast and cereal and several fruits. After recollecting my energy, I thought about ways I could improve upon my swimming. My professors assured me they would be there to help, and that the weather today was not the most ideal and I did well given the circumstances. I mentally prepared myself for the next swim, regaining my confidence and getting excited.
We have one hour of leisure after breakfast before we have our first official class meeting. I go to the class and sit. Other students arrive. I notice my professors having issues with the projector, and we waited for assistance to arrive on how to fix the projector. There was a faulty cable, but it was not something they could repair within our one hour lecture period, so we cancel that particular lecture for another time. I am uncertain when.
Our replacement assignment was to practice taking underwater transects of the corals. A transect seeks to calculate the densities of objects, materials, organisms, or a combination of the above to determine density ratios across parts of an ecosystem. Transects are randomly strewn across designated areas and require numerous samples for accurate results.
My second time in the water was a vast improvement to my morning swim. The water was calm and shallow for most sections I was located in. Each team consisted of two members, reflecting a buddy system for our time in the water to reduce the risk of incident.
Our equipment was awkward to hold, but not inconvenient to swim with. My partner and I swapped equipment frequently as we recorded our data. We worked slowly, but relatively thoroughly. We completed only one transect in the approximately one and-a-half hours we were in the water. The fasted group recorded three transects, which I find to be quite impressive. We leave for lunch at 12:30 PM.
I was not hungry during lunch, so I opted on two apples. My lunch was brief, and we were instructed to meet back at the laboratory at 1:30 PM. I showered and cleaned my clothing and left them to dry before meeting at our lab.
We learn to analyze the data the class took, and we make charts to illustrate our data. We are then required to write a report providing a brief summary of our methodologies, findings, and hypothesis with our partner. We spend approximately two hours working on this, though perhaps less. I was not viewing the time during this period.
At 4:30 PM, we are offered an optional swim. I decide to stay behind and rest, though my partner decided to swim. I head to the kitchen for no real purpose other than habitually walking as I think. I did, however, speak with the chef. He is a very kind gentleman to speak with and to listen to. Our conversations last until approximately 5:40 PM, to which he needs to finish the meals for supper at 6:30 PM. I browse the library until supper.
Supper was satisfying, with an excellent desert. I eat a small plate of vegetables with a portion of pork and gravy. Desert appeared to have been a chocolate-chip cookie-flavored muffin with a healthy dowsing of chocolate sauce.
I finish my report with my partner by 8 PM, and I begin to write today's blog. As I write, I sit next to my professor, and we speak about various topics.
New Holland Honeyeater
My name is Serafin Cardeli. I am Twenty years old and studying to become a Conservation & Restoration Ecologist. I wish to combine education, outreach, and legitimate scientific research to better environmental health and increase public awareness through applicable and relatable methodology. I attempt to specialize in all Canids.