Well, Friday Harbor is gorgeous-similar to Bar Harbor, though, as many people have eluded to, the mountains here are truly impressive and rather dwarf the entire northeast. Being so close to the water here on campus is also a huge perk-certainly one that I could never take for granted. The campus is apparently home to lots of different creatures which unabashedly wander past Laura, Lindsay, and my duplex-like river otters! Despite their local reputation, I find them adorable.

The program itself has proven to be well worth the loans and the scrambling for extra money so far. First of all because we saw orcas from J-pod on the second day here!!! That event pretty much cleared up any qualms I may have had-ever. Second, the opportunity to examine orcas from a new perspective-acoustics-is very exciting. Thus far I have observed whales and their behaviors at the surface, and as exciting as that has been, I’ve only been privy to an extremely small percent of their lives; a weighty “but what happens now” questioning has always persisted in the back of my mind as the whales dove out of sight. This experience allows for the opportunity to scratch the surface of that question via acoustics…which are more complicated than I had hoped by the way. My complete lack of prior experience in this area of marine science has left me slightly intimidated to be perfectly honest, but also excited to gain a new perspective and hopefully acquire new as well as improved skills.
The next step is to establish my research question. While I have many, feasibility has become quite the issue. I am most motivated to examine a topic whose results can have management implications, as southern residents are endangered, or at least serve as a starting point for others more invested in killer whale conservation. Essentially…I want to shed some light on an aspect of killer whale life history which can be used, ideally to establish management regulations somewhere in the near future. While this may be naive and too far-reaching for a 10-week study by a beginner acoustician, I can’t see my motivations straying much.
Finally, I’m excited for this program as it has great potential to answer many “life questions”, you know, provide some of that clarity stuff-if anything prove where my expertise lie, or not as the case may be, as well as let me check off a bunch of things on my list of “things to do before I die.”

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