Friday, April 16, 2010

Departure downs

It's nearly time for me to once again roll on. After being minorly fucked over on my departure flight, I'm leaving Bimini on Monday.

I'm ready to move on, which is likely the result of 6.5 years of a dragged-out university degree. My uni terms were compartmentalized into four month segments and I seem to have developed only a four-month attention span.

The Sharklab further built on carefully controlled intervals.

We checked the gillnets every 15 minutes, changed tracking duties every hour, looked to first, second and occasionally third lunch to break up the day when on the boat for nine hours.

In my three months here, I was constantly awed by the diversity of the sea here, yet continually shocked and amazed at how filthy shark biologists are. I thought my summers working in the forest industry had exposed me to every rude comment imaginable, but it is outrageous what leaves, or occasionally enters, mouths here.

Conversations are quickly reduced to innuendos about sex and poo with remarks about sharks and food thrown in for variety. These four topics bind all of us together into a tight coagulation of what sounds like a gathering of the United Nations at a comedy club.

Amidst all the filth and occasionally trying tasks of manually clearing out the septic tank with shovels and buckets, being defecated on by pelicans and working through the night fishing for juvenile sharks over an entire tidal cycle in 20 mile per hour winds and sporadic downpours, assisting a PhD candidate collect her field research has been extremely rewarding.

Expectations more than satisfied, I have also learned and done things I would have baulked at in January such as accept a dinner party invitation from rowdy women claiming to be pirates driving a golf cart and consuming pink drinks, snake hunt and nearly daily handle sharks.

Five days left until I am back on Alberta soil and the rotating and often revolving cast of volunteers and staff along with a plethora of elasmobranches will ensure a second Bahamian stamp in my passport.

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