Hi hi! This is Mango (real name will be listed down below). The past couple of days have been a change. My group and I flew out from stormy New York to arrive in a very sunny Montego Bay. Afterwards, we took a bus from the airport to Discovery Bay Marine Lab (abbreviated DBML). Upon arrival at DBML, I saw cats that I shouldn’t have pet, but I still petted them (don’t worry, I washed my hands and disinfected myself afterwards). After that, we had dinner and then a mini orientation in the classroom. By the end of the day, we were all exhausted and hurried to bed!
The next day, January 5, would be the first time I’ve ever been snorkeling. I, being a very inexperienced swimmer (the most I could generally do is float), was struggling to just keep up with the snorkel tour next to DBML. So, I was recommended by Professor Peterson to stay right next to the coast to get comfortable with snorkeling and just being in the water. I feel like that really helped a lot. By the second snorkel that day, I was able to go out 15 meters away from the coast—which was such a vast improvement compared to the beginning when I was struggling to just swim a few paces. After getting out of the water for the second snorkel, I took off my wetsuit and lo and behold: one of the worst tan lines I’ve ever had in my life! To future students of this program, make sure to keep reapplying sunscreen! One layer is not enough!
After looking dreadfully at my legs, I decided to cheer myself up by warming myself on the dock in the sun. As I watched over the bay, people started to come back from snorkeling, and I asked everyone how their time was. Salad (Sandra) ended up bringing back a tiny crab that was green with hairy legs and smooth claws. After some research, I found out it was the green clinging crab (scientific name: Mithraculus sculptus)! The crab was really easy and fun to play with; I would flip it on its back, and it would just roll on to its front and walk around my hand. To not stress it out too much, I quickly put it back into its bucket where it will reside for a short while to be observed.
I will say, I’ve already had a tough time here. I had leg cramps the whole first day from sitting on the cold plane for six hours; I couldn’t fall asleep until 2AM due to the heat on the first night; I had trouble with learning how to properly swim and snorkel for the first time; I have to be up for breakfast by 7:30AM (I normally sleep in until 12PM so this is a change for me). But at the end of the second day, as I’m writing this blog post, I’m glad I went through all of that and expanded my horizons. I will have more unprecedented challenges in the upcoming couple of weeks, but I already know in my second day here, that this was (and will be) all worth it in the end.