22 Jan – The Final Stretch to Home(plate)

It’s the day before our departure from the tropics of
Jamaica, and the reefs of Discovery Bay. Some still pale, some rosy, some
burnt, and some well tanned, we are all going back to our winter wonderland in
New York tomorrow.  Yet, this was not
before the much-anticipated Ultimate Jerk!


Before our final (and our only) night out “on the town” at
the Ultimate Jerk, we had a few good hours during the day to gather more
valuable data for our research projects. My partner Sarah and I are working
with the Dusky Damselfish (latin name: Stegastes
) and observing its behavior, particularly its countless expressions
of aggression. Yesterday, Sarah and I swam out to the mangroves and the jetty
where Sarah tallied the number of times the Dusky Damselfish would exhibit a
certain behavior based on an aggression scale from 1-5, and I timed its
reaction rate to other fish and how it responded to them. Working with the
damselfishes is a blast because they are so interactive (but some would rather
call them confrontational). Every time Sarah and I come into close proximity to
the damselfishes, they’ll swim out to us and look at our faces, obscured by our
mask and snorkel.



-Sarah and I doing fieldwork with the Dusky Damsels.


Sarah and I finished our fieldwork only an hour and a half
before the departure to the Ultimate Jerk. We weren’t going to waste any time
getting ready! The girls put on their best outfits, which they saved for this
particular outing. And the boys…let’s just say they looked more put together
than usual. We didn’t know what to expect at the Ultimate Jerk, so when we got
there and everyone was mumbling about how we dressed up to go to a jerk chicken
“rest stop.” But we didn’t care. We were happy we were out of the compound of
DBML for at least a few hours, and not doing something that required us getting
wet. The chicken was delicious, and when supplemented with rice and
peas…Amazing. The best part of the night was when we all loosened up a bit and
danced to a Bob Marley CD that I think the bar purposefully put on repeat for
us for the whole night. Josh also took it upon himself to make sure everyone
had a good time, and that everyone felt like they were part of the group. Thank
you, Josh.



-Swinging hips to “Buffalo Soldier”


It was
definitely a night to remember, a wonderful night to top off a tumultuous 16 days of MAR


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