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Monday, January 25, 2010

Last update was Thursday. Sorry for the lag!

Friday the students had a normal schedule, and were out by about 3 pm. We hopped in a van and we down to Shipwreck, to continue our Friday afternoon tradition- "burgers and fries Fridays at Shipwreck." I was a nice afternoon. Some of us swam, other just sat in chairs under those wonderful straw shade covers.
The monkeys were out, as usual. This time there were lots of very young ones bouncing around too. I also saw two adults have a squabble over something, probably food, which was pretty funny to witness.
I got to talking with the owner, Ra-men (sounds like Amen, to end a prayer), who basically offered me a bar-tending job there. We talked about it for a little, and I told him that once we have a vehicle that would be a definite possibility. I asked about locals working etc, and he said he can't get locals to work for more than a week or two. They all say it's too far or just lose interest. He likes VIPs because they are used to a commute of more than 10-15 minutes! I told him I'd be talking to him again about it.
After sunset, we got back in the taxi and headed home. The pre-vets did a little more studying and we got together to watch a movie in the lounge. It was a pretty low key night.
Saturday Chris and I volunteered to go on snorkel to help locate and research sea turtles, as part of a conservation effort. There is a woman here on the island who is trying to educate the locals about the turtles that frequent this island (green, hawks bill, and leather back). Turtle hunting and killing is still legal here and they have a 'season' which begins soon. Many locals enjoy turtle meat, and also believe turtle eggs and turtle blood are aphrodisiacs. These turtles are on the critically endangered list and she works to provide hunters with other means of income so they don't have to depend on turtles to make a living/feed their families.
We dive to observe how many turtles are in different areas around the island. We swim in a line from shallow water to deeper water, looking for them. When we see one we will circle around it to attempt to corral it so the head researcher can carefully catch the turtle by the carapace (shell) and bring it to the surface. They will then tag and or draw blood to make sure turtles are healthy. It is done very carefully so as to not traumatize or injure the turtle.
We saw three on Saturday! Two hawks bills, and one small green. Unfortunately we weren't able to catch any of them because they are so fast. It was a very good outing anyway, as the two hawks bills were already tagged so the researchers were happy to see them again. I posted a picture of a hawks bill turtle (not my photo):
They are very beautiful to watch and it's amazing how little effort they look to be using when swimming. During our swim, we also saw many large starfish which were red with very thick legs as well as some long skinny ones (brittle star). While swimming I saw what looked like a giant slug... know as 'donkey dung sea cucumbers.'
The cucumbers were easily 2 and a half feet long and as large as my thigh! I saw dozens of spiny lobsters, and hound-fish- which look very similar to barracuda only with a narrower snout. While we were swimming we also began to notice hundreds of jellyfish no larger than pingpong balls. Now, I didn't get stung by any although I should have because I swam right through them, but a few others in our group did. The sting is no stronger than a mild bee sting and they are not poisonous.
That pretty much did it for our snorkel, we were all very tired from chasing the turtles and trying to help the leader catch them.

Sunday everyone got back to studying. I worked on a few projects on my own. The first, is a design for a sweatshirt, which I have donated to the YMCA adventure program (YADVENTURE) in Goffstown NH I believe. The sweatshirts will be a fundraiser for their program. A good friend of my from UNH got in touch with me and asked for the help. Here's what the preliminary design looks like so far:
It's a simple but fun design, showing basically what the program offers: biking, climbing, kayaking, etc... adventure!
I also did a personal illustration, in spirit of a funny discussion I was having with friends. We were talking about how people make their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches... and just about everyone spreads peanut butter first. It inspired this:
Peanut butter, Fluff, and Jelly in a race! PB coming out on top... pretty silly but it was fun. Now if only I could be so productive with the Sam and Jam book!
In the afternoon they had all had enough and decided to head out to the Marriott for some pool time and relaxation. Here's Kater enjoying her spot by the pool:
On our way to leave we saw lots of kittens scrounging around the food areas. I suspect they are feral and get by on scraps. They were curious but not very friendly:
We got home around 8 pm and Kater got ready for Monday.
Monday morning came with rain and wind, it appears to be very cool outside although the weather site claims it is 79 degrees. The 18-20 mph winds make it feel like low 70's from where I sit. Who knows. That is it for now. I'll be meeting with Kater for lunch at noon, in the mean time I'll be working on helping her out with some slides she studies from, doing laundry, and hopefully some illustrating. That's all for now.

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