Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunday Night Sept 11, 2016

Sept 11, 2016

   We took a moment to remember the importance of 9/11 and remember the many people who lost their lives in the horrible attack that occurred fifteen years ago.

   While things started out on a somber note, the daily routine here is busy and we were soon hard at work. First dives usually occur about 8-10:30ish. During that time we come back to the hab to check in at the two hour mark or Mark(the habmaster) gets on to us!. Also about that time, I usually need some air. Apparently, I suck more air than these guys do. I swear Frances has gills. I claim it is because I carry the heavy stuff...however they don't believe me. I thought I was a great diver, until I met this crew.They are so at home in the water. They really can swim circles around me...literally. :) I don't know if I can ever get to the level of ease they display as they effortlessly swim and play in the water with 120 pound air tanks on their backs.

    Ben showing off his diving prowess

   As with the other days we are still setting up plots to study how much sea grass parrot fish are eating. This takes a lot of prep work even before we go out. Forgetting something and having to make a trip back for it is a pain and eats into our time.  I have learned to make sure we have it all before we go. Even with that, I still find I am occasionally scrounging the seabed for as lost nail or string. The good thing is that if we have to come back, I can air up my tanks again.

opps might have needed that the first trip..

  During the experiment setup, I do get to see some of the wonderful sea life that lives here. I am so amazed that these creatures so far from Oklahoma are so important to not only the ocean ecosystem but the entire Earth's ecosystem. What affects our oceans affects everyone in some form or another. The seas are so part of our life even in landlocked states like mine. Conserving our oceans is a priority not only for their beauty but as a way of ensuring our own future. During this time with these fantastic and devoted marine scientists, I have seen this true devotion to the ocean. I have seen Frances swim down a stray rubber band because she didn't what something to eat it and possibly die. I have watched Aline devote most of his adult life to studying how herbivores eat because he is afraid the ocean plants are fading away. Ben has developed so many marine and technical talents that I can't name them all that all revolve around his desire to preserve the oceans.

   I feel really good knowing that there are people like them in the world.  I am hoping that I can fit in by spreading this desire to help and protect the oceans to not only my students but others as well. Maybe somewhere along the line, I can help spark a new Ben, Aline, or Frances...even in landlocked states like Oklahoma. i do so love my job!

Baby eel
Barracuda (GoPro picture from a plot)

Amazing beauty right under our step outside

Sting ray 

I do love these trunk fish... soo cute!!!(Gopro video capture)

  As usual, today we put out more chum. This stuff smells so bad. It is chopped up frozen fish guts and something worse  (I think liquid stink) added into keep it in block form. If it accidently smears on you, you have to rub sand all over your wetsuit to try and get the stretch off before you come back to the hab. Fun! Ben and I had to give each other a sand bath after putting out today's "fish candy". t was all over my arm. It was pretty slimy too.

However, the fish LOVE it. as seen in the pictures below!
Aline watching Chum feeding frenzy about 1 min after placing it

French Angel.. she was pretty mean

Nurse shark

The fish would literally push you out of the way to get to the bag of chum

The chum had its desired effect in the area. A nurse shark showed up almost immediately. I could not swim away fast enough. She was right at my feet. It seemed no matter which way I went to get out of her way it was the wrong direction....Then I was trying to remember if I got some chum on me!
While we were setting up the other collection plots. I got to see one of my favorite animals under eagle ray. They are so majestic as they swim (fly) through the ocean.

   Once more we had to end the day. Unfortunately, each dive brings us back closer to the surface. I had not realized that I had not seen the sun since Thursday. We do see it up through the water but it isn't the same. As I was looking up, I saw they life support buoy. It floats at the surface and sends down electricity, air, and internet. It also serves as a hangout for about 500 fish!

home for now

Well It is almost Monday now, so I need to get some sleep for tomorrow's adventures.

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