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


Diver Dan, New England Aquarium


Calm, cool and collected, Deana, New England Aquarium


Kate the great invertebrate expert, New England Aquarium


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


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


Story teller extraordinaire, Captain Lou, Shedd Aquarium


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


Fellow long time veteran volunteer, Don


Volunteer power couple, Nichole and Chad


Giant Ocean Tank Volunteer, Patty


World’s best husband, SCUBA Steve


and me, Sarah (photo taken by Patty)


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


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.


The deck

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


The bridge

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


The Salon

Where we ate, relaxed and studied our fish identifications.


The engine room

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


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.


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.


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


Beautiful Bonaire

December 5, 2010

As I returned from Bonaire, unpacked, (then repacked for a quick business trip) and downloaded ALL my photos, I realized I didn’t have half as many photographs as I usually have from my travels.  I guess that is even more proof of my “really checking out” and getting away from it all.  Bonaire is not your typical Caribbean island.  It had no large hotels, not very many cruise ships stop there and many of the roads are little more than one-way dirt paths.  It is a SCUBA diving/windsurfing getaway; a little rustic and adventurous and completely wonderful.  We spent half our days exploring the island underwater and the other half driving around in a pick-up truck exploring the land.




I was so excited to work on my underwater photography.  I bought a new housing for my point and shoot camera and rented a strobe for added light under water.  I did one dive to get the feel and play with the settings.  As I went for my second dive, horrors of all horrors…my brand new housing was leaking!!!!  There was water in with my camera and the device was shot.  I quickly pulled out my memory card in the hopes of saving what few photos I took.  I wish I had more chances to take photographs underwater, but thank God it wasn’t my SLR.  I might have had a heart attack…and note to all, Ikelite housing are crap now.  I had my old point and shoot housing from them for 4 years and not a single problem.  This one I had for two dives.  Oh well.  Live and learn.


I was obsessed with the colors and patterns of the coral and sponges.


Lac Bay

Gorgeous and enormous shallow bay perfect for windsurfing.


The largest foo-foo cocktail I have ever seen…with the strangest garnish.  Our new friend Andrew, wasn’t too keen on his “new friend.”


That’s more like it.:)


Blissful in Bonaire

Now Christmas time!!!!


Underwater Model

September 17, 2009

My dive buddy and brother always acts as a great model for me underwater.  Here are some fun shots from a live aboard trip we took sailing for a week around the in the Bimini Islands in the Bahamas.




Screen of Branching Coral


Nirvana Baby

(He had these great bright yellow fins so he is always easy to stay with, even in low visibility!)  Now that my fiancé is certified I have a new victim :)  I can’t wait to so some diving on our honeymoon.


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