So this week has been pretty chill because we have exams next week so we had plenty of time to study. We also had a poster/presentation due today so that took up some time. The assignment was to give a species overview of a native organism. I ended up studying the Black-necked stilt, which is a bird. I usually don’t find birds especially intriguing, but this guy is pretty sweet. They have dramatic mating rituals as well as dances to distract predators. Anyways, that poster is over with thank god. I think I have a rough draft of it on this computer so I can try to upload a pic. I don’t think I have talked about last weekend yet, so I will fill you in on what I can remember. Saturday night was a typical night out, filled with music, dancing, and a lot of laughs. I am making some lasting memories here, and friendships that I know will last a lifetime. Within the first few weeks here, I hit it off with Kirby and Luda, we are all pretty similar and they both are making this trip spectacular. Anyways, Sunday morning I woke up at like 6 am, still pretty groggy, and decided to cure my hangover with some salt water. Luda and I walked off campus to a beautiful dock, with the intentions of “studying” for a little while. That clearly didn’t happen, and I decided I wanted to learn to do a flip. Turns out I am pretty uncoordinated and I slapped the water pretty hard. But it was a morning full of smiles, red backs, and some great memories. We even saw an eagle ray and giant barracuda. Sunday I am pretty sure I spent napping and studying. This week I had a conch assessment assignment due Wednesday, so I spent a little time on that. Wednesday I had a navigation dive for my advanced open water course. I used a compass and that was exciting, me and my dive buddy Erin are pretty awesome. Despite the fact that our dive group is a shit show (for lack of a better word) Erin and I are always on top of the game, so we got to ascend before everyone. We sat on the boat and jammed to Jack Johnson which was chill. Thursday night I had my first ever night time. It was amazing. Night diving was definitely outside of my comfort zone, which is what made the evening exhilarating. Getting into the ocean at night was a huge step for me, because I am generally petrified of the unknown, and at night time there is a lot of unknown. But as soon as I rolled off the boat into the ocean and was submerged, I was calm. My heart beat slowed, my worries dissipated, and I had the time of my life. I went to the plane wreck for this dive, which is an amazing sight at night. You wouldn’t think that ocean would appear so different at night, but it was a whole new scene. The nocturnal animals were out and about, being a lot more active than normal. We saw three stingrays, one of which swam next to me for a good bit. There were also a ton of little crustaceans and shrimps which were amazing to watch. I wasn’t allowed to take pictures, but I will try to upload a pic of what we saw. There was also a crab that was like a foot long, which was sweet. I also saw an octopus scooting along the bottom, changing color with each surface it passes. This was an amazing sight. There was also a literal school of baby squid. They are so adorable and change color. Not only does this dive site have a plane wreck, but it has a wall that plummets into the darkness. It is an incredible and breathtaking sight during the day, but at night…it rendered me speechless. Before and after the dive was also unexpectantly calm. Travis (our captain for the night) played some jazz music, and the moon was bright and reflected brilliantly upon the surface of the sea. The stars were also dazzling and I even saw a shooting star. The night was truly magical, when I came up from my dive I inflated my BC, floated on my back, and soaked in the moonlight and the moment. I was last to get into the boat, I just wanted the moment to last as long as possible. Ahh it was wonderful.
Just keep swimming
So if you know me, you realize that I love swimming, and I love the ocean. The two together spark some anxiety though. I really don’t know why exactly I freak out lap swimming in the ocean, but I definitely do. For the past summers in Maine, I have gathered the courage and trained for the Tri for the Cure in Casco Bay. The water in Maine is super unclear and dark, so there really isn’t much to see. I often imagine a dark shadow under me, waiting to strike. I think of every possible sea creature that could startle me, my mind definitely makes up some crazy things. It is a lot different here in Turks, but I still get a lil nervous. Today my friend and I went out to the swim zone for some lap swimming. I have come to the conclusion that my goggles are too dark to use (I like to be able to see what I am swimming over) so I end up using my huge snorkel mask. But today, I am not sure this was the best idea, and I think it would have been a little better if I had not seen the creatures under me. The water here is obviously super clear, and when the sun is out, the visibility is great. Today, I had a giant barracuda trailing behind me. Now I have mentioned this a lot of times already, but barracuda hate me. I have no idea why, I don’t provoke them, but they tend to follow me lurking and eyeing me… I think they can sense my fear (thanks Finding Nemo) They are also very scary looking (I will post pics). We have learned that they are pretty aggressive, but not too worry until they turn black. Well the guy today, ya he turned black. Now because of my hate for barracuda, I have spent a lot of the time on the internet googling how to not make barracudas hate me. Well, not much has helped… I took off all my jewelry, I don’t wear anything sparkly, and I do not swim after them to freighten them. So I had a moment of helplessness as it turned black, flared its gills, and shot at me. In my mind I was all like “this is it, this is how I die”. I tried not to make eye contact, and swim pass, but this guy was pissed. I don’t think I have ever swam so hard in my life. After screaming, making a scene, and coming up with a game plan in my mind, I decided the best option was to literally sprint away. I totally ditched my friend and got out of there. Thankfully, the barracuda didn’t get aggressive until my final lap in the ocean, so it didn’t cut my swim short, but it definitely freaked me out. Ugh I wish they would just calm down so I could swim in the ocean peacefully!! But my swim was nice besides that, even saw four baby squid!