Monday, October 26, 2009
90 degrees...in the water
Such was the situation in the Florida Keys during fall break. We could not have asked for better working conditions (though I would hardly call the research we were doing work). To me, anything that has to do with snorkeling and being in the ocean constitutes fun, no matter if we are measuring the biodiversity of different marine habitats or taking data on the type of ocean bottom we observe. It was fascinating to learn the many types of algae and the names of all the sponges and corals we came across. Yet, even though the shallow waters where we were conducting our research were amazing, my favorite memories of the trip come from our non-research experiences on Looe Key Reef, in the mangroves, and night snorkeling. It was during these excursions that we saw the most exciting and unique sea creatures, such as a sea turtle, multiple barracudas, two nurse sharks, and giant clinging crabs. I loved the fact that I had the opportunity to share the ocean with such animals as these and learn about their habitats, but each evening I enjoyed just being able to relax and watch the sunset before preparing for the next day’s activities. The ocean is a beautiful and mystifying domain, and even though it can be terrifying (especially at night, when one can only see the creatures that surround her by the small beam of a flashlight), it is a place well worth exploring, regardless of the risks. Believe me, I do plan on snorkeling at night again sometime...though I might bring a bigger dive light.