It’s been a few days since I last wrote and things have gotten a lot better. I am no longer dizzy and have been seeing lots of cool things. For the past couple of days we’ve been doing things called practicals, which are basically labs. My group started on one about bacteria, where we cultured bacteria from coral mucus. Day two we did the fish lab, where we went snorkeling and took photographs of fish and tried to identify them. Day three was transect day, and we determined the amount of coral cover versus sand cover in the different zones of the reef. Day four involved sampling coral and coming back to the lab to count zooxanthellae (the coral dinoflagellate symbionts) and measure the light spectrophotometry of certain pigments. Day five was two days ago and quite cool. It was the plankton lab, where we went out on a boat, collected plankton, and came back to look at it under a microscope. So many little things live in the water, it’s crazy! We finished up with a night portion of that lab.
Now we come to yesterday. That day was supposedly devoted to species cards (a project we have to do by December 13th), so I did a little work on that. I also started studying for our test tomorrow. We have so much lecture material to know! Finally, afternoon rolls around and I go stake out and wait for the elusive silvereye (a small green bird), so I could take a picture. After an hour and a half, I come back with five descent images. Score! The rest of the day is devoted to putting together my presentation for the silvereye and then studying again.
Dinner made me very depressed. The woman who is cooking for us is a scary, drill sergeant. Dinner last night had cheese in it, so I asked if I could have ONE extra piece of pumpkin. NO! She can’t possibly cater to everyone’s food preferences. I try to explain to her that it’s not dislike but moral reasons, but she would have none of it, saying she was too busy right now. Luckily, I have a stash of corn cakes and hummus that rounded out my deficient dinner, yet I was still a little shaken.
The night snorkel we went on last night, though, lightened the mood a bit. We went out with glow sticks (for safety reasons) and saw some neat things in the murky depths. I saw a lion fish, a flute fish, an enormous hermit crab, a puffer fish, and ahermatypic coral (not skeleton-creating) that were bright orange. We also saw a loggerhead turtle and a couple of green turtles. It was quite exciting, however, I was so buoyant with two wetsuits that I had very little control over my actions! Anyways, sleep came shortly after returning and now I’m here, ready to spend an exciting day studying for tomorrow’s exam!