13 January

January 14 jamaica 088

Today started off with an early
morning observation of our projects at 6 am. My partner Carrie and I are
testing the feeding rate of a specific urchin, Lytechinus variegates, in the wet lab. They eat sea grass and we just want to find out how much can one urchin eat. This specific urchin tends to aggregate in the wild and we
want to see if this behavior affects their feeding rate. Also, we want to test
the effect of the light on one of our sea urchin tanks by placing a black
garbage bag over the tank while they are feeding. We
gave a nod to fellow researchers, Josh and Amy, who were also up early doing
observations for their own project. I have yet to see the sunrise here because
the direction the sun comes up seems to be blocked by the high trees surrounding
the compound. I will see it before I leave, but now I can only imagine how
incredible it is. Breakfast was delicious with buttermilk pancakes, Aunt Jemima
Syrup, and bacon. There were only four of us in the cafeteria this morning
ready to eat at 7:30. Lisa quickly became the fifth person in the cafeteria
because as the cafeteria ladies told us our breakfast was served, she ran in
out of nowhere as the smell of the pancakes reached her nose. We are the few
who will always be ready for breakfast because who knows what lunch and dinner
may bring. As Kristin said in her blog before, now the 7:30 am breakfast eaters
trickle in later than usual or some skip breakfast all together to catch up on
some well needed sleep.

The rest of
the day was spent on our projects. Since we do not have lectures any more, we
have a bit more free time to relax, when we are not working on our projects. So
most of the girls, including myself, try to lie in the sun and work on our
tans. However, this past week the weather here lately has been very windy with
an overcast sky. I know I really should not be complaining, but bad weather
here brings choppy, rough waters where the visibility [Ed: in the water] is very poor. This makes
it more difficult for the groups who have to do their experiments or
observations far out in the bay. Dan, Raphey, Alina and Anna were getting
tossed around by the huge swells of the waves, which left them utterly
exhausted…with the exception of Raphey who claims he is too mighty to be
brought down by Mother Nature herself. [Ed: No, he is not.]  Brian
and Texas,
a.k.a Will, also battled the treacherous waters today. But they had to deal
with another obstacle… working with Diadema antillarum, the long-spined sea urchin that is covered with sharp, yet
fragile spines. Dan coined them with the name, the Dynamic Diadema Duo
(fighting crime, one Diadema at a time!), which seems to be very fitting for
them. Needless to say, their hands are taking a beating out there.

Many of us are being stung by
things beneath the sea, whether it is a fire worm or a sea wasp, but nothing
that vinegar or a home remedy cannot fix. They seem to be a normal occurrence
around here. Some of us also are having the issue of chaffing with our wets
suits which ends up in a bad rash. Early mornings, rough waters, being stung, and
rashes are not pleasant at all, but it comes with the job description of being
a research scientist and you just have to deal with it. It’s not a mp, it’s a
yp, right Joe? [Ed: actually, no. It’s a mp, not a yp.]

Hot dogs
and beans (although I think they were actually made of chicken [Ed: the hot dogs, not the beans]) were served for
lunch. This looked incredibly gross, some braved the entrée, while some of us
just ate toast with butter or jam and hoped for a better selection at dinner [Ed: Many of us enjoyed the lunch dish. Others are pretty picky eaters.].
To our surprise dinner was amazing. A chicken and pineapple dish with fried
rice and veggies, and corned-beef as well but to Joe’s disappointment, no
cabbage. [Ed: I was not disappointed by the lack of cabbage.]

The day
ended as Brad, Joe, and some of the kids played a hand of Texas Hold ‘em, and
the rest of us enjoyed a good conversation under the stars of the Caribbean sky.

-Allison (…don’t cha know)

2 thoughts on “13 January

  1. Um, I can’t help saying that I agree with the editor, who disagrees with Raphey’s view of Mother Nature. Mother Nature will always have the advantage, and if you don’t give her the respect she deserves, she’ll open up a can of Mother Nature’s Finest whoop ass on you.
    Dory Bergman

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