17 Jan AM – Reef[er] Madness

Today was ironically probably my most ambitious day of activities and events, ironic that I would get the chance to share this with everyone. So the last few days have been pretty lax, since finishing the [lecture portion of the class] work I have found it difficult to get any work done mostly because of weather conditions. My project along with Josh involves measuring changes in sponge growth in different reef sites along the coast using last year’s data from our resident TA Amber. Who by the way has been very helpful in learning how to catalogue and identify sponges. Anyways we decided that given accurate weather reports of low wind conditions from yesterday we would be allowed to tag along with Prof. Brad and Amber to one of the sites and see if we (Josh and I) could both prove useful to them and also start our project which at this point was starting to seem less and less possible to complete. 

Loathe as I was to awaken at seven (especially after the late night bonfire on the jetty shooting out into the bay) I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed and put my gear together in the morning rain. Our departure was not much better as wind and rain kept the sea rolling with swells and white caps as we attempted to exit the bay; however, it was better (I was told) than their previous three mornings. We stood on the deck as we motored out to sea in our little boat cresting over the waves and bouncing through the troughs, all the while screaming classic rock songs over the wind and rain. We arrived 20 minutes later or so and Amber and I quickly suited up, hopped overboard, and with little effort managed to complete one of the several surveys Amber needs for her thesis, as Josh and Brad bided their time above water. When we returned to the surface 40 minutes later I noticed Josh had undone his wet suit and was sitting a little awkwardly on the side of the boat looking green. He had unfortunately thrown up most of the contents of his breakfast in the intervening time.  I also began to feel rather uncomfortable. Within a few minutes of surfacing I too managed to regret eating anything before heading out. All in all it was successful in the sense that our combined semi-digested breakfasts managed to attract the resident sea turtle Herbert to the scene who surfaced only a few feet off the port stern.

    The rest of the day has been a bit hazy due to the synergistic effects of dehydration and sleep deprivation. I have managed little other constructiveness, besides getting increasingly sunburned, taking a nap, and deciding that perhaps our project should not involve two dives per day at the risk of never holding down a meal. 

    Overall everyone enjoyed the post noon, balmy weather, and the multiple rainbows that appeared throughout the day. Most projects are coming along as far as I can tell and everyone seems to be in high spirits (besides Josh and me who are of course still recovering). It seems as though there is an angst starting to pervade the mood that perhaps our little vacation may end, and we will eventually have to return to the reality of not living in Jamaica; however, that said it has not become too tense yet and everyone remains excited.

Camoflauged peacock flounder on the reef.

– Max

One thought on “17 Jan AM – Reef[er] Madness

  1. I have been in your seasickness situation before, and it is not fun! ;{
    Ask Prof. Brad to tell you about his time on the SeaSemester boat in the North Atlantic years ago. He has an iron stomach, but most…

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