July 12, 2005
Wow, it's hard to believe that our time here is going so short. Today I worked with Emily again, this time on flora and epifauna. We went to the other side of the island, the ocean side, so the water conditions were very rough. We came upon several sea urchins today and a couple of sea cucumbers. Our experts in the field assured me that touching them would not harm them at all. They certainly feel strange (but I'll bet they thought my hand felt strange too). I finally got to see what Fire Coral looks like "in real life" as opposed to in the field guides they have been showing us. It has been a concern of mine that I would inadvertently brush against some (most of the injuries on past expeditions have resulted from contact with this coral), but now that I'm sure of what I'm looking for, that won't be a problem. Ironically, while we were checking out the fire coral, we were surrounded by tiny jelly fish, and they did sting, but I guess their level of toxins were as small as they were, so the affects were short lived thank goodness.
Our task was to count how many of each species we observed at specific locations (much like my time spent with Sherry) but we weren't required to keep a count; rather we were to determine if they were absent, scarce, or abundant. Much easier than keeping a tally.