Hey there friends and family, its Allie, Christen, and Sara here! This morning we started off with a breakfast of eggs and muffins. At breakfast we said goodbye to our new friends from Gettysburg, but we were excited to see the weather looked nice for our rescheduled trip to Gaulin Reef. This trip was taken in two groups. In the morning all research groups working in the intertidal zones (hermit crab and brittle star groups) went out to get their last day of data and clean up all our equipment. While some groups finished their work JW joined Gracie, Matt, and Andrea for a game of beach soccer.
The coral health, Christmas Tree Worm, and Chiton groups all took a short boat ride to the reef. Some people were excited about our first boat trip and others were apprehensive about possibility of sea sickness. However, once everyone got in the water all worries went away at the amazing site underneath. The reef consisted of many types of corals including Elkhorn coral, which was a new sight to us. This first group described the reef to the second group as looking like a scene from our favorite movie, Finding Nemo. They were also excited to see a very large spiny lobster!
Both groups joined back together for a fabulous lunch of hamburgers and french fries, preferred much more than the usual pasta based meals. After lunch, the group that first went to the reef enjoyed a much appreciated afternoon off to catch up on sleep or to study for the final coming up tomorrow morning. The rest of us enjoyed our trip to Gaulin reef in the afternoon. We enjoyed the nice boat ride and were excited to see if what the morning group said was true. We were very happy to find out it was. We even got to see a small reef shark and a larger nurse shark. Everyone was surprised at their initial reaction to hearing someone yell out “SHARK!” Rather than being scared and swimming away, we hurried to the site and were thoroughly interested to see a shark up close for the first time. Everyone took turns diving under the water to get closer looks at the shark. Luckily, he was more scared of us than we were of him, and he hid under a large opening under the coral. Matt and Ben eventually came over to the group talking about their favorite find of the day, a 5-6 foot Barracuda!
On the boat ride home, everyone was in awe of what we had just seen. Many people described it as “magical,” or “the most amazing thing we had ever seen.” We made it out of the water just in time, though, as the boat was being chased by a large rain storm. We got back to shore and on the truck just in time for a short, rainy ride back. Luckily the thunder and lightning did not start until everyone was safely back at the GRC. We all showered and spent time relaxing before a dinner of pork, mashed potatoes, corn, vegetable lasagna, and salad.
Instead of a regular class lecture, we had an exam review session. We all spent the night studying for our final! Wish us luck tomorrow and we’ll be home to our families within the next 48 hours!
by Allie Perry ’15, Christen Nagy ’15, and Sara Fitch ’15