21 Jan AM – Post Exam

Well exams are over and research projects have begun here at Discovery Bay Marine Lab. Many of us are busy collecting test subjects of various shapes and sizes to poke and prod in the spirit of science. Others are out in the bay or diving on the reef making observations. I think we are all realizing that a week is no where near enough time to troubleshoot all of the inevitable problems that arise in a scientific study, and to get usable data. But, it teaches you to be patient, creative, and ultimately to pick yourself, or your sea cucumber up, dust it off and try try again.


I, for example, decided today, with ideas from Brad, to start a totally different project. My original idea was looking at coral disease and coral damaging sponges. It involved entirely field observations, snorkeling and diving. I learned after 2 attempts that I am not so great at multitasking in the water. Having to dive down, look, think, ponder, scratch head, identify, second guess myself, and write down my findings all at once, especially while still learning to control my buoyancy and breathing on a dive, proved to be too much. So now I will turn my effort to sea anemones and the critters that live in them for protection from predators.

Picture 1

An example of a sea anemone I will be see a lot of in the next few days. The brown and white chunk in the center is a tiny crab using the anemone’s stinging power to avoid becoming an afternoon snack.

Yesterday, we all got a break in the morning and afternoon from our work and the daily rhythm of the marine station as we piled into our teal green mini bus and headed out for an adventure. The first stop was Dunn’s River Falls, referred to by some as the Jamaican Splish Splash. The thing to do is climb them, stopping along the way to take pictures. A few of us ran around to the bottom 2 more times to race up. The place was overrun with tourists pouring in off the cruise ships, which only added to the challenge, darting in and out of their silly lines in which they held hands to ensure that if one was going down they all were.

Picture 2

 Dunn’s River Falls.

After the falls we went to the town of Ocho Rios to explore, eat, and shop in the straw market. I fulfilled my dream of owning a steal drum and, with a mini guitar, we attempted to serenade ourselves amidst some late night volleyball.

Picture 3

These are the weirdest of the creatures found at the bottom of the ocean (Left to right: Matt, Me, Kasey, Brooks, and Brad).

Going on another dive tomorrow morning so I need to get some sleeping tonight. But, there’s still time for a night snorkel/anemone hunt.

Picture 4

An eel that poked his head when I was poking at an anemone outside his hiding spot.



4 thoughts on “21 Jan AM – Post Exam

  1. Hazel! You and your colleagues are good writers. The photos are terrific. Those of us in the frozen north really appreciate your journal.

  2. Do you get stung at all when you poke a sea anenome? How does the tiny crab avoid getting stung? Great writing Haz.

  3. Multitasking underwater comes with lots of practice and dive experience. And your prof Brad has had a great deal of both!
    Have a great time playing with the sea anemones! While you can – it’s snowing up here.

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