The last day's project was the most exciting, the kind of project I anticipated going into the camp. We were trying to determine what areas juvenile fish congregate in by trek-netting. Going into it, I was very iffy about catching and killing a bunch of little fish...we had to catch and bag hundreds of them. It wasn't pleasant. When you're studying conservation the last thing you see yourself doing is killing animals. I understand that sometimes you have to do it for the sake of research, but it's a difficult thing to swallow... Fortunately, we released most of what we caught, we just took sub-samples for most of them. It was pretty amazing catching and measuring these shy sharks - beautiful little things, adorable, and none had to be killed :) And we got this stunning eagle ray which we also just measured and released. I won't lie, it scared me just a little. I got a little too close to its tail while trying to straighten out the measuring tape until someone made a comment about something to do with Steve Irwin and I remembered the little barb attached to it. Rookie error. Anyway, we went to a few sites and got about three sub samples of fish from each and then took them back to camp to sort. I'm ashamed to say that after a while, you don't feel so bad for the dead little fish. Maybe it's because they're fish and we're so used to seeing them dead and eating them...which is a little sad. What did get me was that we had to catch a sand shark and keep it so it could be dissected later for one of the demonstrator's projects. That was beyond difficult. They're such beautiful and gentle animals and we had to just leave it trashing around, suffocating out of water until it died. What made it really touching was watching one of the guys in my group sitting with this shark in his lap and stroking it, giving it a little kiss before putting it in the bag. It sounds silly but it was very emotional. Glad I didn't get to watch the dissection... we were outside busy sorting through bags of dead fish, splitting them into piles of different species, measuring them and weighing them. Maybe the dissection would've been better though. The smell of fish stayed on my fingers for a couple of days after that. Not nice.
Sadly no pictures because I'm terrible at remembering to take out my camera when it's needed...hopefully some pictures will surface from somewhere.
I want to say that I'm going to blog more regularly about interesting things from now on, but when I have pending blog posts, it's just an excuse to procrastinate and I should really be working hard this month so let's see what happens.