A-Team

April 18, 2011

Our team of scientists and volunteers were amazing.  Everyone was so knowledgeable and hard working, and the vibe was laid back and fun.  I couldn’t have chosen better people with whom to share a boat for 8 days.

The Team

Our fearless leader, Barbara, New England Aquarium

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Diver Dan, New England Aquarium

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Calm, cool and collected, Deana, New England Aquarium

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Kate the great invertebrate expert, New England Aquarium

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Penguin girl and trip web expert, Andrea, New England Aquarium

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Lean, mean fish finding machine, Captain John, Shedd Aquarium

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Story teller extraordinaire, Captain Lou, Shedd Aquarium

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Long time trip volunteer, Dave (also known as Caesar)

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Fellow long time veteran volunteer, Don

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Volunteer power couple, Nichole and Chad

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Giant Ocean Tank Volunteer, Patty

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World’s best husband, SCUBA Steve

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and me, Sarah (photo taken by Patty)

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Our collecting trip has come to a close, and as I sit at my computer downloading my 500+ photos and avoiding my stinky bag of laundry, I am reveling in the post trip haze of exhaustion, exhilaration and nostalgia.  My husband and I were asked to volunteer for the 2011 Bahamas colleting trip, back in November 2010 and have been waiting in eager anticipation for this adventure, like a 6-year-old on Christmas Eve.  Let me tell you, the trip was everything and more.  It was the adventure of a lifetime or perhaps now an annual adventure, as we had such an amazing time.  To help give you blog readers a little peek into our 10-day adventure, I wanted to share with you a little photo journal of what life out to sea on a New England Aquarium trip is like.  First up, life on a boat

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Life on the Coral Reef II

The Coral Reef II research vessel was our home, work place and transportation for the week at sea.  While the quarters could feel a little tight, she served us well.

The Coal Reef II

She was yar alright.  Well, maybe not “yar” but she got the job done.

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The deck

Where we prepped for dives, housed the fish we collected, and relaxed as we motored from one site to the next.

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The bridge

Captain’s quarters, wheelhouse, and zodiac boats for shore trips

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The Salon

Where we ate, relaxed and studied our fish identifications.

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The engine room

Loud and hot, this room powered us through some high seas.

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Below deck- Our cabins

I slept like a baby in these little bunks, and believe it or not, they felt like a luxury after a long day of diving.

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Up next: day-by-day account of our adventure, and how we actually collected those little fish.  P.S. Fish are WAY smarter than I had ever thought.

Bahamas Bound

March 31, 2011

I leave today for an eight day trip to the Bahamas.  Not just any trip, but a research and collecting trip with the New England Aquarium!  To say that I am excited about this trip is the understatement of the year.  As a little girl I dreamed of becoming a Marine Biologist (that or an artist.)  So much so that my parents even sent me to SCUBA camp in the Florida Keys at the age of 15.  I have been diving ever since and love every minute I get to breath some compressed air.   Lucky for me, as an adult I get to play at being both a marine biologist and an artists!  (Well the artist thing is not so much playing, as really trying to making a living now.)  For the past 4 years or so I have been volunteering at aquariums.  First, at the Georgia Aquarium, where as a volunteer diver I swam with beluga whales, hammerheads and whale sharks.  Now at the New England Aquarium, where I hand feed majestic sea turtles, take care of the Giant Ocean Tank, and will soon be diving.

I firmly believe in the mission of aquariums, to provide research and eduction to the public about our oceans and the animals who inhabit them.  Conservation v. Preservation if you will.  After all, a child who visits an aquarium on a field trip, may fall in love with a penguin or stand in awe at the sight of a narley toothed shark.  That child may one day become a marine biologist, or the very least want to protect the amazing creatures in our oceans and the world in which they live.

So I am off to help the New England Aquarium collect fish for their Bahamian reef exhibit.  We litteraly have a shopping list of the fish we need to collect and bring back.  I also plan on taking a bajillian photos and videos in the hopes of creating a little film or photo journal explaining why aquariums have collecting trips and their importance.  So wish me luck.

Oh, and I cannot promise that I will able to update this blog while I am out to sea.  We will be living on a research vessel and the satellite internet connection is not guaranteed.  Check out previous trip photos and blogs here and here.

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Till then here are photos from some of my previous dive trips.  Now, with camera and net in hand…off I go!

 

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