Saturday, June 30, 2007

Jamaica Me Crazy

21 days in Jamaica, 20 days in the water, 115 hours breathing through a snorkel, hundreds of data points!

Our visit to Jamaica was both interesting and successful. It was successful in that we got some kick-ass data that will (hopefully) result in 2 publications (which is AWESOME for just 20 days of work).

It was an interesting trip too. I didn't see too much of the country, but we did occasionally leave the research "compound" (which I think can be technically called a compund as it was surrounded by barbed-wire fence and had 24-hour security guards). The trips from our little "city" of Discovery Bay to the tourist city of Ocho Rios involved passing massive all-inclusive resorts (also with huge gates and security and surrounded by man-made beaches) and "shanty" towns -- areas in which true Jamaicans lived in run-down cement and metal buildings. The contrast was amazing.

On our one day "off", Joe (grad student), Alex (undergrad), and I decided to go on an adventure! Mr. Coke (a security guard that used to work at the Marine Lab) agreed to drive us (for only $2500J) to the very touristy Dunns River Falls. Mr. Coke was an hour late to pick us up (Jamaican time!) and then he had to drop off his machete (don't worry, the 15" blade was wrapped in newspaper) to a roadside fruit stand. But we made it to the Falls without harm and enjoyed an afternoon of hiking through freshwater rapids and waterfalls. It was a wonderful break from our normal intense research. Mr. Coke also took us to his favorite restaurant (where I ate curried goat, drank Red Stripe and watched the Brian McKnight "Anytime" video (yes, our junior prom song)) and then to a real local market in St. Anne's Bay (where we weren't obvious tourists or anything).

The fish were good (yay data!), Jamaica was fun, I lost 15lbs (but have gained back 2 since being back in the states), I got a good tan (and some good burns on the backs of my ankles -- skin cancer, here I come), and had fun with the other students. Overall, a productive and enjoyable field work adventure! Though, I don't yet have the desire to go back next summer like my advisor wants me to ....


Our boat dock at the compound

Getting ready for a day of work (they call me the Captain)

Beautiful views!

Some fishies, doing some tests, having some fun!
(Awesome photo due to the great digital camera from Ry & the underwater casing I found on eBay!)

Fun at Dunns River Falls!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Yeah, Mon!

I'm in Jamaica!!

With VERY limited internet access! And very little phone access!

But I am safe and happy and having a wonderful time!!

I snorkel everyday for about 5 hours and then enjoy some work and hanging out around the marine lab!

I will have TONS of awesome photos and videos for you as soon as I am back in the states! (Just 10 days until Cali!)