It is 7:00 am and I am already awake. The sun hasn’t rose over the mountains yet, and I am already on the bus heading to my office. My office is the beautiful national marine reserve, Los Arcos. When I finally arrive, the sun has just peaked over the mountains and the rays are piercing through the crystal blue water, shining light on thousands of fish. My partner and I put on our uniforms: bikinis, goggles, snorkel, fins, and grab our materials: rope, buoy, noodles, and dive slates. We enter the ocean and make our way out to the largest rock at Los Arcos. The swim is rough, approximately a half mile from shore and the current is strong. I say hi to all my coworkers on the way out. Hello octopus. How are you doing giant damselfish? Hi eels, the waters a little cold today isn’t it? They look at me for a moment, then return to their daily duties. After about 15 minutes I have made it to my office. I dive underwater about 15 feet and tie a 25 meter rope onto rocks on the bottom. When I come up, my partner has another rope in her hands. We tie this four meter rope to each of our arms and stretch it while using the rope on the bottom as a guide. Katie, my partner, starts her watch and we begin working. For 25 minutes I am scanning the waters below me, and scrambling to tally every type of fish I see. I see hundreds of fish, and usually manage to rack up around 25 species by the end of the transect. We then go repeat our daily task at the next dive site. Afterwards, we swim back to shore, hop on the bus, and head back home where I usually scarf down mangos and wash it back with coffee. When 3 o’clock comes, I head into the local dive shop where I am volunteering to help the owner, Karla. There, I enter my data from the day and help Karla with whatever she needs. This can range from creating a census to help with Ayudamut, or cutting noodles to make hangers for wetsuits. Just a side note, Ayudamut is a program in Boca which helps to control their local dog population. Ayudamut arranges free clinics for locals which vaccinate, spay, and fix dogs. It also helps to rehouse strays. However, now that I am nearing the end of my internship, I use my time at the dive shop(and the wifi) to begin analyzing data and preparing the data and paper to be sent in for publishing. It is our hopes that this data will help warrant for heavier regulation on illegal fishing and overly abundant tourist activities at Los Arcos to protect the marine species. I finish up at the dive shop around 7 and then head to the beach to watch the sunset. Most of the people I know hate thinking about going back to work the next morning, but I look forward to going back to my “office” everyday.
- Stories from Locals | #3
- Week 1-Settling In