I’ve been in Maui for 3.5 weeks now, and I feel as though I’m being eaten alive. Not in a morbid zombie horror movie way, but in a “mosquitoes find me absolutely delectable” way. Each day I wake up with anywhere between 2 and 20 new bug bites. For the first week or so I strongly resisted purchasing/ using bug spray – it’s essentially poison and can’t be good for me or anything else for that matter! After a particularly bad day when I discovered 16 bites, I finally caved and bought a can of Off!, which I found (fittingly) right next to the Raid bug poison – perfect. I’ve been using it intermittently, trying to reserve it only for times when I know I will be standing outside for prolonged periods of time. This helped a little, and for a while I only woke up with 1 or 2 new bites each day – except today. Yesterday I sprayed myself more than usual, too. I coated myself with the stuff when I woke up, again between dives, after my last dive while we were changing the water on our algae experiment, and one last time right before bed – I practically bathed in the stuff! Today I woke up with at least 8 new bites, most of them on my arms and legs (which I sprayed thoroughly), and an additional one on my forehead and one behind my ear – of course, the only places I didn’t spray with bug spray! So, while my coworkers are suffering from a bite or two, here and there, I am quite literally being eaten alive. Resisting the urge to itch is downright maddening and very important, as infection is a very real risk to open wounds exposed to the bacteria in sea water. Also, let’s not forget, the little buggers are vessels for West Nile and Malaria. Luckily I’ve been briefed on signs and symptoms, just in case.
In other news, we’re still in the water for most of everyday, either diving or snorkeling and surveying fish all the while. We’ve recently started counting baby fishes, and they are sooo cute! At this point I think I’ve memorized the scientific names of most of the herbivorous and most common reef fishes of Hawaii.
I have many posts to come that I simply haven’t had the time to write yet. Last weekend we went for a night dive at Kapalua Bay to watch the rice coral (Montipora capitata) spawn. I didn’t take any pictures, but there are some great videos and pictures that I would love to steal from my coworkers here, so I’m waiting to write that post. A few nights ago we went up to Big Beach to watch some baby Hawksbill turtles hatch. We weren’t able to get very close, so most of my pictures aren’t very good, and (again) I’ll have to get some quality ones from Emily. The last exciting update I have is that we went on a “fun” dive yesterday at Mala after our morning “work” dive. That one I do have pictures from, and it’s only a matter of uploading and editing those and writing that post – no easy feat with such limited time! I’ll just say for now that it was an incredible dive and very different from any of our other sites! I loved it!