By: Mary Little, LL.M.

Costa Rica
Posted: April 10, 2017
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Faculty Post

Back in the Swing of Things

Turks and Caicos Islands

It’s only been a little over a week back on South since mid-semester break, and I already feel as if I’m the busiest I’ve been all semester! I can’t say I’m surprised—now that we’re over the hump it’s time to crack down and do work (and the professors may have warned us of the hectic schedule that ensues after break!). Sitting through the first day back of classes, we were all jolted back to reality by the reminder that Directed Research would begin shortly, meaning we had a literature review to write on top of another group paper that analyzes our environmental policy surveys conducted on Provo, as well as an informational pamphlet we created about each of the different dive and snorkel sights around South. The pamphlets might even be distributed throughout the island for future tourists to correctly and respectfully interact with the beautiful marine environments were are lucky enough to witness every day, which is pretty cool!

Lucky enough to have classes outside: this is what the view looks like

Even though the first week back was filled with class-heavy days with some diving sprinkled in, at the end of the week we finally got to go out as Directed Research groups to practice and debrief on our methods. It’s been super exciting getting to hear all of my peers discuss their interests regarding research, so it was even better when we were finally able to go out into the field. The project I’m involved with regards the finfish fishery and management here on South, which means my group will be either diving or snorkeling every morning and taking underwater roving surveys, as well as heading down to various different fishing docks in the afternoon to interact with local fishermen and collect data on their landings. I’m eager to officially begin!

My finfish crew: Cat, Connor, Nicole, and me (apparently we already fail at pics together!)

On a non-academic note, those of us who are pursuing our advanced diver certifications only have one more dive to go, which is photography so it will be extra engaging. We completed the night dive which was on a whole new level of craziness! Rolling into dark blue water and cruising around with our flashlights, were searched for nocturnal animals and were able to see a crab. Overall, that was an awesome dive except the boat ride back was so cold! The last dive we did was the deep dive, and I got to a maximum depth of 88 feet. I was so worried about getting narcosis, but everyone ended up being fine and we even got to see a turtle! Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of either of these dives since we are still learning and it’s a safety precaution, but the photography dive should produce a lot of pictures.

It’s crazy to think about the time we have left here and how quickly it’s flying by, so it’s a good thing that we are all incredibly busy for the next month and a half. Between getting advanced certified, doing schoolwork, and conducting research, hopefully we’ll all find time to relax… good thing we have so many hammocks!

Liz chilling in a hammock

→ Marine Resource Studies in the Turks & Caicos Islands

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