Today was a super fun day! We met, as usual, at 7 AM and put the fully charged Go-Pros into their housings before loading the boat. The weather was perfect- no wind, flat seas, and sunny skies. Melissa and I did the morning dive to assist Andy and Frances with turning on and replacing some cameras and setting out the tiles. Working underwater is really cool actually (I’m sure that statement coming from me isn’t all that surprising), and amazingly I’ve been able to control my FADD (Fish Attention Deficit Disorder).
After that session, we surfaced to off-gas. The next team went down to the habitat to do the virtual field trips, and we had a super fun surface interval. The team really bonded through poetry writing (Gee, I wonder who inspired that idea!), and I have to say it was one of those moments when you sit back, take it all in, and analyze what just happened. Here we are, a bunch of strangers from different backgrounds and fields, thrown together on a project that we are all passionate about. We are blending incredibly well as a team. I feel as if I’ve known them all for a very long time! The Surface Interval Poets (SIPs, for short) composed haikus for each of us and then took on the challenge of a sonnet dedicated to our beloved boat Sabina. Now, I must say, it was not I who pushed for the sonnet. It was actually one of the science guys! We laughed and carried on pretty much until divers started to surface. *The poems are copied at the end of this blog.
After a little more surface interval in the beautiful afternoon, it was finally time for Melissa and me to head down to the habitat for our virtual field trips. As I entered into the wet porch, I came face to face with a huge barracuda, who was hanging out there. We stared each other down, and I made the first move. He very slowly, reluctantly turned and gave me the space.
My Skype with my home school Altoona Area High School was first, and I can’t even tell you how exciting it was for me to talk to my kids and the science classes. It was definitely my best teaching day ever! I gave them the tour of the facility and then took questions. I’m pretty sure the smile could not have been wiped off my face. Actually, I’m not sure the smile has left my face since I’ve gotten here. It’s probably why my mask keeps flooding. I chatted with Hank while Melissa did a virtual field trip for a group in Peru.
Upon exiting the habitat, we saw a big old Goliath Grouper just hanging out… I would use the word “lounging” actually. We had to fight current a bit, but otherwise, it was a rather perfect day in the water. We hung out on the boat for the rest of the afternoon until the other team went down to do their “sciencing”.
We returned to dock at 6 PM, ran home to shower and eat, and returned to base at 7 for a presentation from the Coral Restoration Foundation. Now, we are sitting in the conference room with the science people waiting for the video footage to upload so we can analyze the data.
And now… SIP’s poetry!
Tom’s haiku: Spotted Eagle Ray/ Why you gotta be so mean/ A whimsical beast.
Sean’s haiku: Commercial diver/ Swinging spud wrenches while bent/ Dirty as can be
Andy’s haiku: Academia/ Piled higher and deeper/ “Things are happening!”
Frances’s haiku: I’m in search of sharks/ But only barracuda/ Dwelling in the deep
Melissa’s haiku: Working under sea/ Experiences unreal/ Science is a life
My haiku: Dream come true for me/ Hung out in Aquarius/ Diving all day long
Hank’s haiku: Master chief knows best/ Vulcanized rubber tape saves/ Hoo-yah deep diver
Roger’s haiku: Roger Garcia/ Poetry about Roger/ We shouldn’t write this.
Extra haiku about Sean: Hey stand-by Seansie/ I’m standing by to stand by/ So others can dive
Another haiku: O’ Decompression/ Should have made better choices/ Please do not get bent.
And finally… the sonnet about our boat Sabina, as composed by me, Melissa, Andy, Tom, Sean, and Frances. Hank did his best to block us out I think. Ha ha ha…
Sweet, sweet Sabina sailing on the sea
Sweet diving operations she supports
Coming in hot, brace for impact– oh Gee!
Keep a mechanic in all of the ports.
Don’t you bring your bananas on board, dude!
Get your daily potassium on shore.
Bananas as sea will ruin the mood.
Diesel power adventures we adore.
Scientists, teachers, and Sabina’s crew
Waiting for sharks to come scare all the fish
We will drop bait for them if we have to
Sabina, sea mother, will grant our wish.
Sweet, sweet Sabina, keep us safe from harm.