Friday, September 9, 2016

A Very Different Summer

In January of this year I was offered an amazing opportunity to work for one of the largest and greatest companies in the world: Apple. This summer I continued my job with the company working from home and continuing to learn about technology and its impact on the world. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. The hours were odd and the days were long, but because of my hard work I was able to work full time and establish myself at the company.
However, there were many times I got to be a bit too restless, sitting in the house allday and not getting to go experience summer. Imagine my relief when I finally boarded my flight with my crazy friend Kelly in Atlanta to go down to the Keys. When we arrived and felt that hot, muggy Miami heat, I really did feel home again. However, I was extremely anxious to actually get down to Layton and start diving!

My first few days down there, we started doing something we had never done before, tagging damselfish. We wanted to do this to determine if these territorial fish actually stay in their territories over time. Kelly was an expert at elastomer tagging and helped Kylie and I concoct a plan for catching, tagging, and successfully releasing these little guys. The first few tries catching them were rough (to say the least). Kylie sustained multiple head wounds, I injected myself with elastomer (more than once), and I’m pretty sure we made some reef critters hate their life, but we finally caught the fish and marked them!

These weren’t the only fish we tagged though. In the evenings we had a new challenge, to tag parrotfish with acoustic tags. Unlike damsels, these fish are relatively large, fast, and pretty skittish. Needless to say, it can be a bit tricky to find, catch, tag, and release them while diving in pitch black. However, after only about 20-30 minutes of searching, we found and tagged a nice big redband supermale. Although this was my last dive of the trip, it was definitely the most exciting. This one-week was the highlight of my summer (although working for a great company wasn’t too bad either). I can’t wait to go back this fall!

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