The recorded ramblings of an unschooled writer, aspiring biologist, amateur equestrian, ardent bookworm, avid music appreciator, increasingly addicted runner and college student spending the summer in Ely, MN.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sort of asleep, but also sort of snorkeling...

November 24, 2009

So, I went out the reef again today for some snorkeling and research! Kai and I each watched eight sand perches, so now we have a total of 16 data points/samples for our aquatic study, which is still terrifying as that is hardly any at all, but better than none, I guess!

I continue to be ridiculously and unnecessarily exhausted. I slept on the boat both going to and on the way back from the reef which was nice, but also kind of makes me a little bit sea sick. It was a bit rainy on the reef for a while this morning, but the sea was still pretty calm, though I kept running into problems with very small stinging creatures of some sort getting trapped in my spandex pants and stinging me a whole bunch! I ended up taking off the spandex and risking sun burn to avoid the stings.

Today I saw a quite large moray eel, a lion fish swimming out and about and a very large octopus that Heather was harassing with one of Peggy’s flippers. I love snorkeling and this whole marine aspect of biology quite a lot – I just wish that I didn’t feel like my entire body was one giant lead weight – swimming is so difficult right now. I have a ton of mosquito bites all over my feet (as everyone does), from yesterday evening and my flippers were starting to rub on them, so for the second half of the day, I took them off and swam flipper-less, which was even more difficult, but also felt really nice for my feet to be free!

The sand perches aren’t really proving to be all that interesting yet. Mostly they just sit on the sandy patches in between big patches of coral and are quite well camouflaged. This is good in some ways, because it means that I can keep up with them and even dive down to check their sex (males have stripes on their cheeks, but females have spots) without them running away from me, despite the fact that I’m moving as slowly as humanly possible, but also a little underwhelming because after watching zebras all last week, they just seem a little dull in comparison. Every once in a while, two females will meet up and the larger one will get quite upset and chase the smaller one away from the area where it is feeding, so that is pretty exciting, but other than that, I haven’t seen them interact socially with one another.

We had a quiz this evening after dinner, which I didn’t do too well on, but I don’t think I failed either. It was hard because even though I studied a lot with a big group this afternoon (okay – my eyes were closed and I was kind of slumped over for most of it, but I was trying really hard to stay awake and absorb the material), the questions weren’t really very comprehensive, but instead were about very small, strange details.

School and school work stress me out so much, especially tests. This worries me a bit – if I get this freaked out about class, how much will real world work make me crazy if I actually succeed in getting a biology job?

My baanda mates, Rachel and Lydia, continue to be amazing and really nice, though I’m worried I’m beginning to drive them crazy. I know that I’m no fun right now – but being smiley, optimistic and entertaining just isn’t something that can happen when I’m devoting every bit of my energy simply to staying awake and maybe getting some work and a blog post done too.

I’m tired of being tired. Current best guesses on what is making me sick are: a) mono or b) swine flu. Can’t really test for either here in Tanzania, so I just hope it is whichever will go away the fastest!

Miss you all! I should go and work on my Maasai essay some more now, but really I just want to sleep!

PS Wanted to share this quote, ‘cause I’m using it in my Maasai essay and I think it is one of the prettiest things I’ve read:

“I have a great concern for Mother Earth. We have gravely mistreated her. But when we speak of the environment and the depletion of resources, we sometimes forget that our greatest resource is our children. My people have a word to describe the moment when all is in harmony – we call it Beauty. But Beauty can find no foothold in despair…We must work on many levels, walk many wheels, that lives may be spared – the lives of the people, and the lives of all those other species with whom we share the world. Our contributions, no matter how small they might appear, carry an equal importance, for they will all contribute to the harmony that allows the world to walk the wheel of Beauty.”
- “The Trees Are Crying” by Charles De Lint

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