PSO: Study abroad is not all fun and games. This observation is limited to my only study abroad experience, obviously, but while I’ve only documented here the exciting and novel adventures I’ve had in this blog, there are still afternoons and evenings filled with lengthy scientific literature to be read, assignments to be completed, marine species to be documented and memorized.
Now that Scuba Boot Camp is over, all the food I’ve been consuming can now be directed as energy to power my brain, rather than my body. They’re slowly weaning us off back to back dives, and back into a normal class schedule (by weaning, we still have a deep dive and a night dive scheduled for the week, but no more training, hooray!) and I feel like I’ve been thrust back into the icy depths of syllabus navigation and a close reading of tedious texts. Because this is a research program, our research proposals are to be turned in *gasp* THIS FRIDAY so our advisors can meticulously and mercilessly dissect them and return them to us filled with the blood of red pens. I’m being dramatic, alright, but I’m feeling dramatic. This week is hell week #1.
Fun and Games: Study abroad is still pretty fun and games, tough. Here’s what I did this week.
- Rescue diving: You may know how to administer CPR, but can you administer CPR while swimming both yourself, and a drowned victim to shore? We learned this technique and were forced to do it over and over (And over) again so if any of you decide to stop breathing while diving, I will for sure jump in and save you. 🙂 I think the most uncomfortable exercise to practice was when I had to take off my mask and share a regulator with a maskless buddy. For visualization purposes, imagine that you are 50 feet underwater and a huge fish knocks your mask off, exposing your eyes and nose to the water. Then, you (irresponsibly) run out of air. You reach for your buddy’s octopus (the second “breather” each diver has attached to his person) but that is broken, so now you and your buddy have to share the one working regulator with air. What? Does that even happen? Probably not, but it’s better to be prepared.
- Boat dive: We took a boat to Klein Bonaire, a smaller island near Bonaire, to take our fish and coral identification quiz. I love boat diving, mostly because you don’t have to lug all of your heavy gear so far to get the shore. Anyway, reefs that exist away from human populations are even more beautiful than you can possibly imagine! No cameras were allowed underwater, unfortunately!
- Windsurfing: I WENT WINDSURFING! Bonaire has perfect windsurfing conditions and holds international competitions in Lac Bay, so where better to learn how to windsurf than here? (Lac Bay also holds dense mangrove and seagrass forests. Both are protected, ecologically important and diverse habitats and are SO COOL but I’ll elaborate on those later.) The entire bay has warm, shallow water and steady trade winds, which made learning how to windsurf much easier than I originally thought. And to top it all of, the sand at the bottom of the bay is the finest, purest, most powdery calcium carbonate you can find. Falling off the board was probably just as enjoyable as windsurfing itself, just because the bottom was so soft. (pics below)
S/o to everyone at home struggling to study for that ochem test!