Magic City Farewells

A few days left in Abaco where shortly I will return home to yet another forthcoming farewell. My last nights of organized bike clamor and reckless unknowns. Such is life, it seems--as goodbyes lead to next hellos, they say.

My time back in Abaco has been elevating. Work spread out between hiking out to far away mangrove estuaries through sharp rocky terrain, mangrove mud, and waist to neck high murky waters filled with cassiopeia jellyfish, the surprise frolicking sea turtle, school masters, and nurse sharks. Sorting through cassiopeia pens, 40 exactly, set up by our PhD marine biologist, Betsy. Trap setting, and benthic sampling is our specialty. Mud mashing, and mantis shrimp squealing. Foul mouth talk and show tunes. We're going to miss this.

My main project here is with our PhD marine biologist, Lauren--grunt fish on artificial reefs set out over a year ago in front of the house. We've had many cute critters caught, handled and tagged. This week, the weather has not particularly been in our favor and each ocean entry is murky and mysterious--a little nerve wracking--as we freedive to the reef and make observations while setting and retrieving traps. Our least favorite friend so far being the 4 foot great baracuda at reefs 6,7,8; our favorite friends being the marvel manta ray and these little guys.

The wind here from Tropical Storm Debby (now a tropical depressions) has been howling through the island like a banshee; thrashing us around in the boat these past few days. Only two more days of work left. Leaving is always bittersweet.


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