When we started our third module, introduction to marine ecosystems, I was super excited for the class. I don’t know much about the ocean and had heard it was an awesome class where you get to snorkel virtually every day. Unfortunately, on the first day, our professor combined the evolution and marine tracks into one class of over 30 people all crammed into a small classroom where there was hardly desk space and she told us how preoccupied she was with this sea lion project and that she was very unorganized. She stayed true to these words and it was an incredibly frustrating class. We only went snorkeling twice and none of us from the evolution class had any idea what we were doing/ looking at. We did have a research project that involved going out into the field, which was a lot of fun. My group studied a group of rays that hung out around the tourist’s pier at night and they were fascinating to watch. They swim in schools and we were trying to figure out why. There’s been virtually no research on them, but we think they work together to bring their food (mollusks and crustaceans) up to the surface. I think our professor was impressed with our project too, which was super exciting, especially since she’d been so apathetic during the rest of the class.
The last week of the third module, we didn’t have too much work. Tuesday, I went up to the Hacienda to help out with horse therapy. Disabled children came to ride horses and we held them on. It was really interesting, but my arms hurt a lot afterwards. One of the girls didn’t really have control of her spine so I was supporting virtually all of her weight. After horse therapy, we helped heard cattle/ I stood terrified while animals 3x my size ran by praying they didn’t come near me. Luckily they didn’t J Once the cattle were in the pen, they tied up a calf and then its mother and we milked her. Although I have milked cows at the Ohio State Fair, I was not that great at it. One guy volunteering at the Hacienda was in his 50s and from Vermont and had never milked a cow before which I found shocking.
Then, on Wednesday, we went to kicker rock for class. It is a rock in the middle of the ocean about 150m high and has a trench through it populated by sharks. The students in the class that were scuba certified went diving thought it and the rest of us snorkeled above them. The bubbles from the scuba divers scared the sharks up to the surface and there were about 30 sharks about 2m below the surface. I was a bit terrified, but we all made it through!