Friday, May 27, 2016
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Heading back home left me with a very bittersweet sensation; a happiness to return back to life as I knew it and the usual sadness that lingers after a chapter of something has to come to an end. This trip for me was a chance to learn about a topic of study I always had interest in, but never truly had investigated before. When I was a little girl I had always wanted to become a marine biologist, but life seemed to get in the way and that dream faded away with time and was met with a different dream grounded in what was deemed more realistic. Going on this trip allowed me to connect back to my former childhood self, enjoying the things that I love and learning all about a foreign undersea world that seemed so magnificent and wonderful. While like many adventures the trip had its downsides and I had to learn to adapt to the new environment, much like the various organisms we observed in the intertidal have to do in their every day life. I'm truly honored to have been able to be a part of something so fun filled and grounded in education and a solid love for the field of study. I strongly urge anyone reading this wondering whether it is something you want to do, but are not sure of whether it is for you. It is honestly one of the best things I've experienced so far, and I'm so incredibly happy to have been a part of it. From connecting with new people with various different backgrounds, to immersing myself in a culture I didn't know much about led to some eye opening and enlightening experiences. I promise you if you do choose to participate in this program, you will not regret it, you might even learn a thing or two, and head home with a head full of farfetched dreams and a gnarly sunburn.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
-prices are often negotiable
-the pipe diameters are smaller in Mexico, so no paper in the toilets!
-You can still get a coca-cola, but other sodas like root beer are nowhere to be found. Instead there are sodas with fresher fruit flavors like apple and grapefruit
-pesos are used instead of U.S. currency, but luckily in the area we were almost everyone accepted U.S. currency
-instead of people begging for money on traffic corners, there were street performers and window washers looking for tips
overall it was a truly enlightening cultural experience. I feel like it is so important to go experience Mexico especially when there seems to be a lot of negativity surrounding it in the media. The people are friendly and helpful even when there is a language barrier to work around. The food was amazing, lots of emphasis on sweet and spicy with alot of traditional influence.
It is hard to summarize and entire culture and my experiences of it, but it was a life-changing experience. I hope to go back someday soon to learn even more about the culture and the biology.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
CEDO is represented by the fun whale skeleton that washed upon the beach. It is a symbol that stands in front of CEDO. Tomorrow we leave but I'm leaving knowing that I learned a lot.
We saw little crabs and snails, and most exciting of all was the octopi! The first octopus was found by Virginia; it was tiny! We learned that the octopi like to hide in shells and clam shells. The second octopus was holding a clam shell together with the suckers on its tentacle. When we opened the shell we saw the octopus and the eggs it had. They were hatching! That was really something to see!
This trip has been an experience that I will remember for ever. I love learning about the sea and all of its creatures. I was able to swim with marine mammals such at sea lions and other Marin life. I enjoy experiencing new things such as eating oysters and learning to kayak in estuaries ( when fresh water meets salt water). My all time favorite event was when we got to swim with the sea lions. It was absolutely amazing and I wish I could do it every day. Thank you Dr.C and Glenn for helping me learning a lot about the ocean and understand the ways of a new culture.
Okay, well, that was actually a lie. It's not truly my last day yet; that's tomorrow. But we're simply leaving tomorrow, so I don't think that really counts.
Tonight, we had a phenomenal authentic Mexican meal. There were beans, fries, and beef stew, along with some sugary drink supposedly made from a flower.
...The beans were really good. The beef stew had peppers and tomatoes in it; it wasn't as good as a result.
There's talk of us watching a movie, preferably Finding Nemo, as a fitting send-off to our trip. Dunno if we can get it to stream with the shabby wifi, though.
Overall, this was a really fun trip! I'm glad I came.
I wanted to talk about one of the most interesting activities that was done. On this activity we ha d gone to the muddy part of town on Cholla Bay where I saw my first momma octopus. I had initially found a baby octopi but someone else managed to actually find two or three momma octopus's. They were incredibly well hidden inside big molluscs shells. It was very fun and very surprising how cute the baby octopi were. Even at birth they can change colors to camouflage themselves and escape. Very smart animals.
Today I had my first experience kayaking and as you can guess.... I fell off. I was ready to quit but Dr. C did not let me. And because he did not let me quit, I did much better and did not fall off again. It was very fun but also very hard on the muscles, especially if you do not work out, like me. Here is a pictur e of momma octupus and her babies. Virginia Martinez
That's not really relevant to this blog. I just thought it'd be a good attention grabber. Did it work?
Anyway, today I went kayaking. We went out for about two hours.
A good halfway through, we stopped at a shore with a lot of fiddler crabs on it.
We picked them up, and they didn't attempt to pinch us! Apparently, fiddler crabs don't actually try and pinch often, as their claws are for show (mating) not for actual pinching. They were around half an inch long. Some were, at most, an inch long. They were adorable!
We then kayaked back to the start, and I ordered a Coca-Cola using my Spanish! Two years of language class put to good use, baby! I got a soda!
The restaurant owners had a cat. I tried to pet it, and he walked away.
They also had a dog. I tried to pet him.
He, too, walked away from me. The jerk!
We then tried oysters. I slurped one up, only to realize it was raw. Oops?
It actually tasted pretty decent. Not good, but decent.
I tried a few more. Just to confirm they truly were decent, you see! N-not that they were good or anything.
They were totally terrible!
...Okay, fine. They were actually pretty good.
After the raw oysters, we tried some pickled fish tacos. Those were good, but the real treat was the stingray tacos. Those were phenomenal.
Then I went back over to the cat and tried to pet it again. It walked away once more.
Greetings from south of the border amigos! Today we are recovering from yesterday's trip to Isla San Jorge. The boat ride took about 3 hours but was worth it. On that trip we learned about some of the mammal marine life, the sea lion. We learned how to tell the difference between male and female sea lions and also their warning signs for aggressive behavior as we would be swimming with them in the water around the islands.
Monday, May 23, 2016
In front of CEDO we saw a lot of critters in the tide pools at low tide. These include brittle stars, star fish, sun stars, snails, hermit crabs and crabs, fish, and more.
My favorite critters are the brittle stars. I enjoy the way they move; stars use hundreds of tube feet on the bottoms of their arms to move and catch food. Sun stars and star fish move the same way. They have five teeth on the center of their five arms (brittle stars).
These are pictures of the tube feet on star fish, sun stars, and a mixed box.
When arriving at bird island and looking over the edge of the boat, in the distance tiny little black spots would pop up from the water's edge for a quick glance at the boat we were drifting on.A sneak peek of the overall curious nature of these beautiful animals.When we finally started getting into the cold water, the sea lions cautious at first slowly moved their way towards us. Their behavior was something I couldn't have predicted, I was told they would be playful, but was delightfully surprised to see the full extent of that meaning. At first I found myself a bit frightened by this creature with large canines and sharp whiskers. It seemed so foreign to me since I had never approached an animal of that nature in it's natural environment before. However, as time ticked by I began to form a relationship with the sea lions. As I became bolder I began testing the reactions of the sea lions to different types of movement. The common playful behavior I observed from them was their shooting forward towards me, face forward with their mouth open as if they were going to bite me, but turning at the last second and swimming around me in a circle. This I tried to turn into a fun game with the sea lions by turning with them at the last second and swimming/following in the direction that they were swimming and keeping my face pointed towards them. This they seemed to find amusing, and would continue to circle me until I would have to stop because I would start to become dizzy. The sea lions at one point began involving the fish in their playful acts. While swimming a tiny school of fish began being corralled by all of the sea lions, they swam in what appeared to be in a circular pattern as if they were trying to corral them into the right place. Whether this was simply their own way of playing or if I was witnessing them hunt I'm not to sure. But it was incredibly intriguing to see. It was also fun to watch the sea lions involve objects in their playful antics. At one point a sea lion picked up what appeared to be coral or seaweed and exchange it between multiple sea lions. This is definitely an indicator of their overall intelligence and was incredibly fascinating to see.
What I found interesting is that as time continued to tick by and I remained in the water, they seemed to become more comfortable with my presence. They began to all group together around me, some flipping upside down with their tail fins breaching the surface of the water, others floated beside me watching me and observing my actions with curiosity. It is very rare to see an animal up close and have it be as equally curious about you as you are about it. As I've interacted with various different species in different environments i've found that most animals have become desensitized to my presence, behaving in a disinterested manner; however today the sea lions reminded me of the wonder of discovering someone/something new. It became almost surprising how comfortable I soon became with these animals, thought constantly reminding myself of their danger I remembered to keep my distance from the shore knowing full well that the adult sea lions were incredibly territorial and dangerous. The adult sea lions had several different warning signs they would use to indicate that you were swimming a bit to close to their nesting area.
As I discovered how difficult it was to tear myself away from my new friends it made me reconsider the life path I have chosen for myself. I cant accurately describe the happiness I felt interacting with the animals and watching their playful behavior; as well as the overall excitement teeming on the boat with the instructors eager to explore the islands edge. I imagined myself in that position and with further reconsideration I might look into going into the marine biology field.
Hey guys! We're just coming back from Isla San Jorge or Bird Mountain as it's also commonly called because many of the birds poop on it making it all white! Eeew! Today I was able to have my very first dive, where I was able to see the sea lions in their most natural habitat. The young sea lions were very curious and got very close and personal. Will upload pictures very soon!