Experimental Tropical Marine Ecology

More than a hop, skip, and a jump.
by -- October 20th, 2008

More like a slog, wait, and some annoyances.

The only good thing about the 4:45 wake up call this morning was that it got me out of a very bizarre bad dream.  Scott and I swore and fumbled our way out to the lobby to wait for the others despondently.  We then endured diesel fumes, a lack of breakfast at the airport, and the breakup of our group to get on the plane to Atlanta.  They had set the temperature in the plane to ARCTIC BLAST but I still managed to pass out for more than 3hrs to the benefit of all.

No one was detained in customs, though we worried about James for awhile when he was late, and we ended up finding our boxes in the odd size baggage area, but then we had to deal with a massive layover: 8 hrs for most (6 for me).  Seizing the moment, we floundered our way into a MARTA station and took the train to the Atlanta Aquarium.  We waited 30 min to buy our tickets so they could be half price, had lunch, and then headed straight for the whale sharks.

The big tank there is actually really incredible.  4 whale sharks, tons of rays, sawnose shark, black-tipped reef shark, manta rays, hammerhead, zebra shark, enormous groupers, etc, etc.  They all swim above where you stand in this tunnel and it gives you the sense of really being in there with these magnificent creatures.  Highly recommended.  I was in a rush, so I went to see the beluga whales, the sea otters, the hognose ray touch tank, and then high-tailed it back to ATL.

I encountered endless issues: multiple delays, ludicrous dash to connect in charlotte, and missing luggage, but I think most of the others had a nicer journey and arrived just after me (10pm).   Another long day.

And that’s it!  It has been my pleasure to share our stories about this unique adventure in a manner that is accurate, complete, and no-holds-barred, despite troublesome computer issues and the fact that Duke needs to preserve its connections/good relations and can’t have me spouting off about whatever on their server.  We had an awesome time, thanks for reading.

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