Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Endings and Beginnings

This is to be my last blog entry from the Florida Keys for this season. It is never easy for me to leave behind new friends and new experiences, but I'm also always anxious to explore and enjoy find something different. Part of me wishes I could remain here to build on friendships and keep exploring the islands and life around me, as just today I had another first life-experience: my first sighting of the rare white-crowned pigeon.

Tonight, my boss had our farewell dinner for our group in Marathon at a nice pub overlooking the water. She was just finishing up with several conferences and we just had our last day sweeping public lands for invasive plants. An Americorps crew from Boston U. were there to, so we thanked them for their hard work on the lower keys and Crane Point, and wished them well on their next venture in Mississippi working on hurricane rehab projects. Alison shared some really bad jokes, and we told stories of coon bear, zombie-pythons, and other Keys-ish topics.

This past weekend was a blur, as my parents came in for a visit. We did 5 dives off Marathon on Saturday, visiting Flagler's Barge, Sombrero Gardens, and Sombrero Reef. We saw lots of lobsters, moray eels, and the bewildering variety of reef fishes. Some highlights were seeing tight clusters of basket stars napping in the daylight on purple gorgonians, a tiny baby filefish hiding on a rope sponge, and a rock beauty that would only swim upside down on the bottom of Flagler's Deck. The night dive is always fun, and we fed the coral by shining our light over the coral head to draw the plankton into the coral's tentacles. The next day, we woke up early for another 3 dives at Looe Key. We saw lots of midnight-blue parrotfish, a dolphin, sea turtles, and a reef shark.
Tomorrow is our last day at work: the morning I will present our year-in-review report, and in the afternoon, the director is taking us out on a boat trip! After that, it will be a night of packing and partying. It's hard to believe that this time last year, I had just made the decision to change careers.

I'll try to update this blog again next week, after I'm home and hopefully with some news about my next adventure. I have applied to many new job opportunities, so who knows where I'll end up next? I could be in Yellowstone chasing after river otters, or flying over the Oregon coastline observing terns and cormorants, or killing invasive plants in Washington, or studying fire ecology in Utah... among other dreams.

I look forward to being home again and catching up with old friends and family, and I wish all my friends from the Keys a farewell until we meet again!


Matt said...

I'm sad, I looked forward to your FL. blog. It was like I was in the keys too.

Jolly Green Giant said...

I'm sad too but it will be good to see you again bro! Wish I could've made it down to get a dive or three in before you shipped out!