Here and There and Everywhere
by Sarah G. Sunu -- April 15th, 2014

A lot has happened since my last post! Job interviews (mock and real), drafts of my master’s project, presenting the project at the Social Coast Forum in Charleston, and….a travel course in the Bahamas! You might assume that going to the Bahamas was my favorite part, and you wouldn’t be wrong, but the Social Coast Forum was also a blast. I got to introduce myself to some great Duke alums, and chat with people about my project concept, which was really fun. Plus Charleston is a neat place to visit (tested out my GoPro a little bit while I was there):


But if I were you, I’d be ready to see some blue water and white sand. Here you go!


Yes, it really is that blue. Probably bluer.


The travel courses are a really great part of the Marine Lab spring curriculum. You may have been reading about my classmates who went to Ascension Island, or Palau, or Hawaii, or Singapore, and a bunch of folks just left for Baja. Being able to immerse yourself in a new ecosystem is a luxury that I don’t get too often, making it all the more valuable. I learned a lot about coral reef ecology (not my typical ecosystem, I’m more of a rocky intertidal kid), fish (vertebrates are also not something I’d spent a lot of time on previously) and science in general.

We had 7 students and 5 faculty (led by Dr. Brian Silliman), so there was plenty of opportunity to ask questions and see things that we might have missed in a larger group. The majority of each day was spent on snorkeling and independent projects, and I have to say it was really nice to be outside and observe the world, rather than sitting in a computer lab all day like I’ve been doing for my project (which is almost done).

I also got to play around with my GoPro. Clearly I need to practice with it more, but this video will give you the general idea. The first three clips are from a couple of reefs that we checked out on our second day—Snapshot and Telephone Pole. Check out the fish! Brian is pointing to what looks like a member of the Trunkfish (Ostracidae) family in the second video; the third video is me chasing a peacock flounder for a bit and then getting distracted by something that swims away really fast, and lest you think we were completely waterlogged the entire time, I included a clip from our trip to Man Head Cay, which has a population of native endangered San Salvador rock iguanas.


You know it’s a good day when you snorkel to an island, hike around it, and check out some tide pools with ridiculous numbers of snails (see pictures!). It was great getting to know everyone on the trip, and every day was an adventure. I hope I can bring that enthusiasm and sense of discovery with me wherever I wind up next!

Tides in San Salvador, Bahamas, for April 11th, 2014:

High: 11:49 AM, 1.2 ft

Low: 6:09 PM, 3.17 ft

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