The tide pools were amazing. They made me think a lot about things, though not really marine biology related. I liked how when I stuck my finger into anemones, I felt it kiss me, but Grace corrected my omantic misnomer, since the anemone was actually harpooning me. When Grace did that, I found it profound, because I had been thinking about how love and hate spring from the same passions, and how the same passions we feel for something can lead us against it, and how man’s love for the ocean might lead them to kill things for the pleasure of seeing them at home. It was all very interesting, this interplay of thoughts and comments that were sloshing around.
On the trip to the tide pools, Julia and I sat in the back of Grace’s Benz and it was such an eye-opener. Julia prefaced the trip with, “I like how I can see the faces of people driving; it’s interesting.” And it made me think a lot about the community we live in, strictly defined by “things we know” but also in the amorphous community of friends whom we click with on a gut level but beyond words or time. The whole idea of this kind of nameless friends and wordless experience is reminiscent of a haiku, and I like haikus a lot, so I wrote a pretty free form haiku amoeba (not strictly 5-7-5 and I put in two liners in between; thinking about both community and the tide pools):
wish to be hermit crab
alone in dead snail’s home
drifting in pool
i used to play in kiddie tubs
cheap plastic home of hope
kissing my finger
the feelings of anemone killing;
same thing i guess.
“love and hate spring from same”
they told me so.
back of car is magic—
Facing drivers approaching and passing
friends unknown made forever
you can tell a lot about a person
by waving at them for ten minutes
dear redhead like kirsten dunst
we could have been friends
had we met in half moon bay
i forgot that childish wonder
naive acceptance of beauty
i’d like life in hermit shell
swimming with people unknown
with beauty i can’t see
A great afternoon at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve!
September 17th, 2012
The equatorial morning sun shone through the clouds as waves slapped against the rocky island as it rose from the turquoise sea. After some witnessing two mockingbird (Mimus parvelus) couples squabble for precious nesting territory and some hillside hiking, I turned my sights to the beach. Stepping past some playful lions, including an expectant mother (Zalophus wollebaeki), I turned my sight to the surf. We had another riveting morning of snorkeling. Even the crew and our professor marveled at the biodiversity we saw below the waves. I wasstill waiting on one opportunity in particular: to swim with sharks.
We knew that they were around; others had seen a few earlier in the expedition, and we read a lot about them. I wanted to swim with one. After swimming along the side of the island and marveling at the schools of colorful fish living in the stone reef. I decided to swim back to shore to visit the soon-to-be mother. I peered into the rocks and looked to my right into the turquoise depths. I glanced towards the beach, and saw a dark torpedo coming my way! My adrenaline spiked as I stared it down. I could hardly believe my eyes. Seeing as this shark was about as big as I, I kind of freaked out. It was swimming right at me, just a little below me. I stared into its face before it quickly steered into the deep.
September 17th, 2012 Galápágos Islands, Ecuador
The shark that swam up to me once I overcame an adrenaline rush well enough to take a picture of it.
I thought I’d write about my experience with this shark because I can relate it to themes of our course. Sharks in the Galápágos Islands face a huge threat from the growing population in the inhabited part of the Archipelago. As the population grows, so does the number of fishermen. Illegal shark fin trade is extremely lucrative., as the number of affluent shark fin consumers in China is rising. Small fishing vessels can be difficult to catch, and many of the government officials are corrupt (i.e. easy to bribe) even when they do catch poachers. The islands do not get much rain, and there is not much agricultural land available (as 95%, formerly 97%, of the islands). It’s a real problem. The authenticity of the marine ecosystem that the legal fishermen rely on is compromised when sharks are harvested unsustainably. Although the Galápágueño fishermen, farmers and their families face a slightly different set of circumstances then the farmers. Ecotourism is more sustainable, and a more steady cash flow, However, a full transition from the illegal fishing of sharks, sea cucumbers, and spiny lobsters to sustainable fishing and ecotourism will take time, and will be difficult with the islands’ growing population.
I also thought I’d add a green sea turtle because I like them and because this one posed for a close-up.
After our field trip to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve to go tide pooling last Friday, January 25, our students are all posting a photo recapping some aspect of the excursion! We were accompanied by sculpin expert and Stanford Post-Doc, Matt Knope, and our resident marine biologist, Grace, assigned each student a tide pool creature in advance of our trip, so everyone was an expert on something we came across!
It was beautiful to use nature as our living classroom and to see students fascinated by their surroundings hear them remarking on wanting to spend more time exploring the outdoors near Stanford. It’s a wonderfully amazing world we live in here in the Bay Area.
Ossy found a hermit crab with a tri-colored shell. Very cute! Adorned with three different encrusting algae. Thanks everyone for a great afternoon of tide pool exploration at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve!!
Even though the picture isn’t of a sea anemone, I learned that sea anemones cover themselves with white sand when the tide is too low to cover them with water. The white sand reflects the sunlight and keeps them from overheating and drying out.
Born and raised in East Los Angeles, I grew up with very little nature in my life. We didn’t have any local parks, no sustainable farms, and everywhere you looked it was factory after warehouse after factory. It was an industrial jungle and I never would have known anything else had it not been for the generosity of the Los Angeles Maritime Institute. I’ll never forget when they first came to my school to discus the wonders of spending time out at at sea. “sailing, Sailing, SAILING!! TRY IT NOW!! IT’LL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!” they said. I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical at first. I actually would have never signed up for the weekend at sea program had the girl I had a crush on not coaxed me into it. Long story short, I’m glad she did because spending time on that boat was by far one of the greatest weekends of my life. We went kayaking, snorkeling, whale watching, dolphin watching, and even got to spend some time on Catalina island. There were one point on the trip where some friends and I had the opportunity to climb out onto the bow of the ship as a pod of curious dolphins swam underneath. I would have been able to reach out and touch one had my arm been just a little bit longer. Even as close as I lived to the coast, It was the first time I had ever seen the ocean.