Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Turtle Tuesday #2

Well, I wasn't intending on taking a week off in between posts, but I worked 14+ hour days every day last week (including Saturday and Sunday), so that's what happened! I had such a great response to the first Turtle Tuesday! I'm so excited to share what I've been up to this past week!

Turtle Tagging

Last week, we went seining for turtles in an area called Winding Bay. A seine net is a net that has two poles attached to the ends and is dragged along the bottom towards the shore. 

Source: VIMS

Our seine net was about 100 yards long (maybe longer) and we had 7 people total working on either pulling the net, ensuring the net doesn't sink below the surface or leave the sea floor, or scaring turtles into our net. On our first seine, we caught one turtle, a juvenile green sea turtle who is incredibly happy to see me (also, ignore the fact that I don't have pants on)

Whenever we catch a turtle, we take a series of measurements. We begin by taking the straight length of their carapace (top of their shell), followed by their width, the curved length (using a tape measure) of their carapace, their weight, we make notes of any scars or abnormalities, and then take photos of the shell and flippers. 

 Measuring width of the body

 Measuring body depth (or how chunky this lil bugger is)

 Weighing our little guy (he came out to be around 6 pounds)

Photo shoot!

This was a brand new turtle (to our project), so before we released him back with his friends, we attached tags to the rear flippers. Each flipper gets a tag in between the second and third toe on the flipper. The tags have numbers that are recorded and this will help us see how this turtle moves and grows during the time it spends in the Bahamas! After we catch a turtle and take measurements, we also attach a biodegradable, red string to the flippers so that we can tell which turtles we've already caught within the last few days so that we don't stress them out too much. Then, we release them back into the water (that's the turtle's favorite part).

Even though it's been a really hectic and crazy first week, I'm loving it so far and am learning a lot! I start teaching this Friday, so that'll be a new and exciting adventure! 

Have you ever gone seining (or fishing)? How big do you think turtles get?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Turtle Tuesday #1

I'm hoping to start this new series on my blog, which I'm calling Turtle Tuesday. It'll be the day of the week where I give you updates on my new job, any fun things we're doing, and life in the Bahamas. Hopefully, a few of you will find it interesting!

My first full day of work was on Saturday. We spent the morning grinding bait to set on our BRUVS (Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems). Basically, we put a bag of bait on a cinder block, attach a GoPro, and see what predators live in the creek and how that might affect turtle feeding habits. I don't have any photos of that, but it was a ton of fun, and I'm hoping to get some more photos throughout my time here to share.

We have to wait 2 hours before we can pull up the videos, so we went snorkeling. I ended up finding 10 whole sand dollars, which was super exciting! Then, we pulled up our BRUVS and headed back to the office to get ready for dinner.

I headed home after dinner, but I was back on Sunday for some more fun! We weren't allowed on the ocean because of Tropical Storm Cristobal, so we spent the morning looking at the videos we got from our BRUVS on Saturday. We had some activity! We mainly saw small snappers (fish), but we saw sharks and barracudas as well! That was pretty exciting :) After we finished with our videos, we had lunch, I got some food to stock my apartment in case it stormed (spoiler alert: we barely got rain), and then I took a walk on the beach to document the storm clouds coming in.

I spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking, napping, and cooking dinner in my own apartment :) On Monday, I went to work at 7 am. We had our weekly meeting, did chores, had breakfast, and then left for an adventure! The ocean was still "closed," so we took a trip "down island" (it's actually north of where we live...) to the Glass Window Bridge, an old Banyan tree, and a cave system. It was gorgeous and I am so happy I chose the Bahamas as my new home :)

Today, we are off to do some turtle corralling! Stay tuned for next week!

Have you ever been part of scientific field work? What is your favorite ocean creature?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Whirlwind Relocation: The Bahamas

Hi guys! So I've officially moved to the Bahamas! Everything happened so quickly, and it was ridiculously chaotic, but I made it! I'm finally here :)

I got the e-mail on Thursday, August 21, that they wanted me to be on Eleuthera by Friday, August 22. So, I booked my flight that afternoon! I ended up having to run 10,000 errands and ship some things to my parents' home, but mostly everything I needed to get done before I left, I did.

Friday morning, I headed out to an early breakfast with a friend before I headed to the airport! We were done eating by 8 am and I had a few things to do afterwards, but we headed to the airport around 10 am. I ended up breezing through security (even with my overweight bags) and made it to the gate with an hour and a half to spare. Well, my flight ended up being delayed nearly an hour and a half! I was terrified that I would miss my connecting flight, but BahamasAir assured me that I would be put up in Nassau if I did not make my flight.

The flight from Orlando to Nassau was relatively uneventful and was a little over an hour long. When I got to Nassau, I had to re-check my bags because I was coming from an international flight and leaving on an inter island flight. My connecting flight was also delayed, so I made it in time! However, this is where my fun began. They checked us into our flight and had us wait on the side. Then, they told us to return to the seating area. I did and about 15 minutes later, I heard a "final call for boarding." So, I went back and was told to run to the tarmac. When I got to the tarmac, I was told that my pilot was pulling away...and I watched my flight leave without me. I'm still not sure how it happened (a few other people had the same issue), but I went into a panic. Luckily, a woman was able to help me get onto another flight (I honestly got the last seat) and I made it to my destination.

Because I was supposed to come on the flight before, my luggage was already at the airport I landed in. However, the baggage agent from BahamasAir decided that he had had a long enough day and left before the last flight came in. So, my luggage was locked behind a door and I had no way to get to it. Another baggage agent called the BahamasAir agent, but he hung up on her. I ended up having to leave without my luggage (only my carry on).

By the time I got to my new job, it was already dark and I was STARVING (I hadn't eaten since breakfast). We ate, had a small orientation, and they dropped me off at my new apartment! My first full day at work was on Saturday and was MUCH better than Friday's travel day, but I'm hoping to start a new, weekly blog entry where I fill you in on my adventures, and I think I will save that for this week :)

Stay safe, everyone!!

What was your worst travel experience? Have you ever missed a flight?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Getting Back Into Shape

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't self-conscious a bit about my body since I got injured. I put on a little weight, I'm squishy, and I know that I'm not as strong as I was before I got hurt. However, I'm trying to get back into the swing of things.

It's hard to not have access to a gym (when I graduated, my ID stopped working at my University's gym). I've been using the Nike Training Club (Thanks Sharsti for always chatting it up) app (which is free), but sometimes, I can't even motivate myself to do that for my MUCH needed strength workouts.

As far as running goes, it's hard. I'm nowhere near the level of fitness I was when I got injured. I ran 4 miles last week and that's the longest that I've run in a consecutive run since March/April. It was hard. I stopped to walk a few times. I got discouraged. But, at the end of the run, I was happy that I did it. I was happy that I pushed through. It was terrible, I had to stop for the bathroom twice, and I was over two minutes slower than I usually run, but I did it.

I'm still aiming for 3 runs a week, although I'm hoping to bump that up to 4 runs. Sometimes my hamstring still nags me (particularly the day after a run), so I'm working on strength in that department. I know that it'll take a lot of work to get back to where I was, but it'll be worth it. Besides, it's nice to have my favorite stress reliever back as I wait for my move to the Bahamas. I'm beginning to get discouraged on that end, too. Patience is something I will have to hold onto for now.

If you've been injured, how long did it take you to get back to pre-injury? What is your favorite fitness app?