2016 Day 10: San Sal Stormy Surprise

little buddy

Sean’s little buddy (a baby jack)

Professor’s note: All of the students have contributed a post to this blog.  The remaining posts will be on a volunteer basis… our first is by Michelle Stephens and Kelli Mosca.

Big ass thunderstorm

But it cleaned our equipment

And now we study


house at Barkers Point

Working the reef while weather rolls in

We awoke again this morning, wishing for a few more minutes of sleep, but a lot awaited us for the rest of the day. The plan was to go over to Barker’s Point, collect our last set of data, and then have a cultural stop at the lighthouse. We entered trusty truck S and departed to our destination, with slight gray clouds hovering above. We arrived safely (thanks to truck S and Captain Dr. Kelly) to Barker’s Point, where a quick hike through the shrubbery was the only thing between us and the rocky, wave crashing shore. Our last three days of data collecting have become more and more efficient, so today we planned to be speedy so we can continue to explore! An hour and a half passed and the slight gray skies had turned darker and ominous thunder was booming near. At the first flash of lighting, the professors called us out onto shore. I do not think we have ever packed our gear so quickly. Us wide-eyed scientists, still dripping wet, ran quickly and quite frantically in hopes of beating the storm. The thunder and lightning were nipping at our ankles, while Dr. Kelly drove slightly faster than usual back to the station. On the back of the truck we hung on tight and felt like storm chasers as the dark clouds began to surround us more and more. We questioned: “Are we gonna make it?” “Can we outrun this storm?!” “Should we really be riding on the back of this metal truck?” The field station appeared in the horizon; we were so close. As the first few drops of the storm fell from the sky, we pulled into the field station, safe and sound. We sat under the pavilion eating lunch, watching the storm go by, wishing that it would pass faster so that we could go back out into the field. The rain didn’t hold out for long, but it wasn’t all bad since it gave us a great chance to clean our salty gear.

study selfie

Study session selfie.

Sadly, we were not able to go back out to finish our snorkel or see the lighthouse. The storm lingered for longer than it was welcome. This meant that we spent the rest of the day inside the lab. We analyzed our last set of data, cleaned the supplies, and began studying for our final. Our study breaks consisted of playing hangman, exploring the former surveillance bunker on campus, eating, and thinking of what to sign on the class tee-shirt (which will be hung at the famous Shortstop bar tomorrow for future students to see). As our last day approaches, we discuss what our last snorkel destination will be. We hope that we will be in good terms with Mother Nature tomorrow, so we can revisit the gorgeous Pigeon Creek. If not, then we will just have to settle with a location closer to our home base. Now, we continue to study in the lab for our final, which makes us realize that all this fun navigating the tropics is indeed a course, not just a marine biologist’s dream.



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