This morning, I was not sure what to expect given the recent
rain, and I was not sure how to follow up yesterday’s exciting trip to Ocho
Rios. Then, mid morning, the sun came out!! With that, we all gravitated
towards the dock to lounge, photograph, snorkel, read, do handstands, and get
hit with awkward patchy sunburns.
Then we went through a rigorous academic review with our
Professors and TA to finalize our research proposals. Each of us had to stand
before them; blind folded on a balancing beam while being sprayed with cold
water as they fired countless inquiries at us concerning our materials and
methods [Ed: This is not how we remember the meetings occurring.]. If I try to recount the details, it is just a blur.
My partner Rachel and I have decided to study water
circulation and coral bleaching. We started today by setting plaster in ice
cube trays to harden and dry over night. These cubes will be secured at each of
our sites. How much the cube dissolves will give us a measure of the current’s
speed and direction. At these sites, which vary in depth and wave action, we
will observe the healthy and unhealthy coral.
In the afternoon, Dive Master Anthony took me and 3 other “Divers
in Training” out for some diving. We entered the water by sitting on the side
of the boat and carrying out the roll backwards technique, and my initial
thoughts were “You want me to do what??!” But, of course, it worked.
I only needed to do 1 exercise, (I completed the Confined
Water Portion in NY) so while the other DITs worked on exercises, I got to hang
out. It was mind blowing for me to have my face inches from the sandy bottom
and not worry about coming up for air. Within seconds of being submerged I saw
a Lesser Electric Eel rippling along. The deeper I sank and the stiller I
became, the more I noticed. I saw gobies and slugs all over the place.
Then a Beaugregory Juvenile popped up from some patchy
algae, looked at me, and darted back into his shelter. Then, zoom, he
reappeared. He would face me, turn his side to me, swim an inch, look at me,
tilt his head, turn, and swim another inch. This went on for a few minutes. He
had the cutest face and then his friend showed up and they were both making the
same playful and curious gestures at me.
~Leech Headshield Slug (Chelidonura
hirundinina) scanning the bottom ~
~The cutest Beaugregory Juvenile (Stegastes leucostictus) in the world~
~We met Barry at the Straw Market in Ocho Rios and he has
the longest dreds in the entire place~
Overall, Jamaica rules and I am thoroughly enjoying my first
marine science course, feelin’ alright, workin’ on my wet suit tan, enjoying
traditional meals, and listenin’ to Bob. Winter has never been this tropical.