Bights that sting, puke fests and prom proposals

You can see photos from our day here.

Yesterday by far was the one of the most interesting days.  It started off fairly normal with students heading off to their respective habitat studies, and excursions, but one by one, the stories starting coming in.

During the afternoon the 2nd year students took the pontoon to a location called Triton Flats.  There assignment was, according to Kyle Taft, “To collect biodiversity and quadrant data. While there we also found a sea hair, we named it Papa Shrek.  It looks like a large black slug with wing like fins on the back of it.”  In previous years Kyle said they found another that they had named Shrek.  As you can see on the link they do look a bit like Shrek!

Apparently this black slug like creature was a favorite of Sara Taft, something known by Camden Lacy.  He used it as inspiration to ask her to prom while out on the flats.  Rumor has it she said yes.  I’m sure it will be prom proposal that people will remember for a while.

Also during the afternoon a group headed out to a location called “the bight”, pronounced “bite”.  Among those on the trip were Christina Haimes and Pete Biddle. They were out snorkeling the area and were not seeing much.  According to Haimes, “We thought we would head to the mangroves were we have typically seen better marine life.”  So off the two of the went.  Soon they found themselves in very shallow water, about a foot deep, that was mostly sediment and grass.  What they didn’t notice right away was that something was living there, a lot of somethings.

“We floated into this area that was really shallow and as I looked down I quickly realized that it was home to jellyfish. A lot of them.  I tried to stay calm and not disturb them by just moving my hands and flippers just a little in attempt to get out of there.  Pete was trying to do the same thing.  Stay on the surface and move as little as possible.  Unfortunately it wasn’t enough because we were both stung quite a few times.  My biggest fear while snorkeling has been to be stung by a jellyfish.  I can tell you now that it hurts, a lot.” Biddle had a body suit on so he didn’t get the welts caused by the jelly fish stings.  Haimes had quite a few all over her legs about the size of baseballs.  By the evening and after using cortisone cream, she was feeling better.

And just because I know you are all thinking it, although Haimes had offers, she didn’t allow anyone to pee on her stings.  “That is a myth!”, she exclaimed.  :)

The evening seemed to be fairly relaxing for some of us.  The place was quiet as many were out on the second night fishing excursion.  The first night went really well, lots of fish caught, quiet seas, only one got sick.  What a perfect time THEY had.  As I was heading to breakfast I began to hear the stories of a not so perfect night.

WARNING: Don’t read further if you are prone to sympathetic vomiting!

They are calling it a “puke fest”.  Forty-two passengers were aboard and only 8 managed not to be sick.  It started in the front of the boat when someone “let it fly”, spraying those down wind.  (I imagine it was something out of a movie.)  From there on they started dropping like flies.  The conditions were not ideal.  High waves and rough seas kept them from going out as far as the previous night.  The boat was rocking and even though they took precautions, it wasn’t helping.  Sara Holsopple said, “They warned us that it was rough and people were going to puke. Eventually I just closed my eyes and leaned forward.  It helped.”

Dani Smith was perhaps the worst off.  ” I just hung over the side of the boat until it stopped. (which was hours) Then I tried to lay down and just get through it.”  Some didn’t get sick but felt nauseas the majority of the time.  You could find people laying down wherever they could squeeze.  One student was sleeping on a bench and fell off.  “I heard a thud, ” said Josh Haimes, ” and he was down.”

Those that didn’t get sick actually caught quite a lot of fish.  I believe we have 27 lbs in total.The fish kept will be filleted and eaten on the last night we are here along with all of our other left overs.

For those of us that didn’t go, well, be glad you didn’t.  For those that did, I hope you have a better time at John Pennekamp snorkeling today and that the seas are calmer.  And if you do feel sick, jump out first please!