Salutations everybody! My name is Noah Anderson and I will be an upcoming super senior (fifth year) at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. I major in Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources and plan on pursuing an additional major in Anthropology. The time is June 13th, and the scent of sea water is still as fresh as it was when I arrived on Little Cayman.
Today is our final day of diving–as a school of internfish, if you will. Our dives took place at Mike’s Mount and Mixing Bowl. There is so much to see and so much to do in so little time to do it in (especially when you are underwater and are limited on air supply). When coming here to the Cayman Islands, I was recently scuba certified and still needed some more practice and time underwater. Now, I could not be more pleased with my growth as a scuba diver, and in a place that is so clear and colorful under the sea of all places. If anyone gets a chance to visit the waters of the Cayman Islands and scuba dive, you will be in for a sensational treat. I have seen so much aquatic life during my time under the Cayman waters, and the dives have enhanced anything that I have watched in documentaries and animated cartoons. I could go on and on (like the drop-off) but will not, because it is time to go into surface stuff, like poster presentations.
My fellow interns getting ready for one of our final dives.
As a reminder, one of the big projects that my fellow interns and I did while we were here were posters. They each shared a common detail of urchin surveys that each team would conduct in various sites under the waters of Little Cayman. The amount of urchins surveyed could be used for data when analyzing the results of our respective topics. Each topic culminated in a poster presentation that would be presented on June 13th. Five posters were presented in all, and my fellow interns, my instructors, and I listened, pondered, and discussed the research that was made here with attentive ears at bay. On a side note, I was part of Team 4 (Lindsey, Matthew, and I), and our topic, “The Effectiveness of Little Cayman Island Transect and Roving Urchin Surveys on Diver Experience”, examined the role diver experience played on people as they conducted the urchin surveys here at Little Cayman.
Team 1 (Kiran, Leah, and Rob) listening to a question about their poster.
When listening to all of these presentations, I really learned of how much sweat and effort can go into three weeks of scientific study. Even though we were limited for three weeks, I felt like I was conducting real scientific work and I am glad that this internship allowed for me to understand the steps and processes that go into formulating advancements in this field of study. The process can sometimes feel long and hard, but knowing that you positively contributed to something like what my fellow interns and I did makes the process much more worth it, in the end.
This post has not ended yet, however. I still want to talk about the “silly sea videos”. After the poster presentations, we all went over to LCBR (Little Cayman beach Resort) for the evening to watch some fish videos. What would the Little Cayman undersea life be without the various fish species that inhabit the coral reefs? There would be little life, if not, no life at all. So, my fellow interns and I made short videos documenting the fish behaviors of fish that we chose here in the Little Cayman waters. I chose the elusive, spine-tingling, and downright cute squirrelfish.
My fellow interns and I sitting down to watch fish behavior videos.
Ultimately, everyone’s video was simply seaworthy! Two fins up! There was no gill, fin, or beak out of place! Everybody put time and care into their videos and it really showed. My instructors, fellow interns, and I enjoyed the rest of the night after that. It was great to end the day with fun and silliness. Times before and after the dives and presentation block were used for eating and/or poster prepping. The next day would also be fun, even though it would be our last full day as a school of internfish, but knowing that we all had done a good day’s work at the end of the day made the next day feel so much calmer (not just because it would also be a day filled with merriment, relaxation, and no work at all).
Post-discussion of the fish behavior videos.
I was able to dive deeper through this internship and I cannot wait for what else lies ahead, or below, in the adventures of my life. My day and the internship would not have been what it was without the people that got me to where I am today. Thanks Team 4, my instructors (both in and out of the water), my fellow interns and new friends, CCMI staff and volunteers, my family, and of course–you, for reading this post and my fellow interns’ posts (if you have not read their posts, please give those a gander if you can). This experience was my first time celebrating my birthday away from home, but my new friends and instructors helped to make this experience a wonderful gift for me while I was here overall. Like a wise, old turtle once said: Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present. In addition, always try to remember the small gifts that life gives you every single day, and, like a blue tang, you will truly just keep swimming.
Until next time!
Noah Anderson, Rutgers University–New Brunswick