Friday, August 30, 2019

The Key(s) to a Great Summer

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to go to the Florida Keys and work on research projects with our lab. Some of our projects included fish surveys, artificial structure deployment, and lobster & parrotfish tagging. Each project was a new, fun experience, even if the experience was tossing concrete blocks out of a boat for a few hours. Our first few weeks, we were doing reef fish surveys every day. I had the coolest job in the world: swimming around beautiful reefs and counting fish. Our focus was on the butterflyfish and parrotfish.

When we went on our night dives, it felt like a completely different world. The reef was nearly empty of all the daytime fish, which had been replaced by a whole new world of creatures. Every flash of light shone on a new pair of red eyes. While on our night dives, we looked for stoplight supermale parrotfish to tag. Watching those tagging surgeries was a truly unique experience.

Aside from the diving and the people, one of the best things about this summer was being on the boat nearly every day. I’m sure that I’m a few inches shorter than I was at the beginning of the summer, but it was worth it for the fun of getting tossed around in the waves.

There were also lizards. Everywhere. I got to have the best summer of my life in the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, diving nearly every day and seeing lizards and amazing sea creatures on a regular basis. Oh, and the people were pretty cool, lasting friendships and all that mushy stuff.

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