Memorizing fish names can be a tedious process.
Since my last blog post, we have been extremely busy here in Jamaica. We crammed more than a month's worth of material into 4 days, learned over a hundred species names, collected as many of those species for our tanks in the wet lab as possible, and captured the rest on our cameras. That led to powerpoint projects, two quizzes, and a lab practical. We've all been such dedicated students!
A more fun way to study – Brad leading us on a scavenger hunt!
But since then, we've been able to relax a little bit. On Thursday we were actually able to go to Dunn's River Falls. I had been there before as part of a cruise, but this time was a thousand times better. I absolutely loved being able to climb it without a guide, without holding a stranger's hand, choosing my own path and speed. In less than the time it took for the cruisers took to go up once, we were able to climb it three times! We would duck around the cruisers, and they'd stare off at us while they waited around, trapped in their chains of interlocked hands, looking confused or a little envious.
Avoiding the tourists was very liberating.
But after all the learning and waterfall climbing, I think one of my greater accomplishments was catching a Dusky Damselfish on Friday! I know, it really shouldn't be a big deal, but Paulie and I desperately needed one for our project. We are testing the aggression levels of these fish, which our known to be very territorial. But in order to do that, we needed to catch one to put in a clear jar, so we can place it in another Damsel's habitat as an intruder. We tried for hours to catch the Stegastes adustus, but it was proving to be very difficult. I eventually had to set up a trap and chase fish into it. Now that we've caught the fish, we have started to collect more data.
Snorkeling in Rio Bueno!
So now we are able to balance work and play. I'm really glad that we have a little more flexibility now. This morning we went to Rio Bueno, a beautiful spot to snorkel and dive. It was definitely the prettiest place I've ever snorkeled at. The longer I stay here, the more I realize how truly lucky I am to be here. It has definitely been a great, unique opportunity.