Aloha from Beam Reach!

Hello! I’m Megan, from Colorado, but I attend college at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

The fall 2010 program is running full force! We are now 3 weeks into the program and setting out for our first sail today! So far this is one of the best experiences of my life. Since I have failed at keeping a daily journal I will just give you all some quick highlights.

This was my first trip to Washington State, and was blown away by the beauty of the San Juan Islands, I was even amused by the ferry ride over to Friday Harbor. One of the best feelings is living next to the ocean and having hiking trails in your back yard, which I have found at the Friday Harbor Labs. Hana Cat and I took walks in the first weeks here (while it was warm) to explore these trails, and every time I was so impressed by the view of the shore trails. One of the best parts of living at the labs is the fact that we have the option to row into town. I’ll admit I’m not the best, but not the worst, at rowing. It’s so peaceful and a totally different view of the island. Typically we run across a few harbor seals on our way to town.

During our time on land we were lucky enough to be here while The Whale Museum was still doing their summer science lectures so we got to listen to talks by Roland Anderson-the octopus guru, Captain Paul Watson, and our one and only Dr. Jason Wood. We’ve also had various people come into our own classroom (which just so happens to be our living room) to tell us about their research and what they are interested in.

The best highlight from these weeks on land is of course…. WHALES! My first sighting of the whales was on the ferry back from Seattle the first weekend here. We caught a brief glimpse at them as we were coming into Friday Harbor, which is very rare. Later that week the whale phone (we get updates via text of where they are during the day) was going off all day and they were hanging out on the west side of the island, so Hana Cat and I jumped into Dave’s car to “chased” them up the coast to meet up with them at the county park. It was the first time I was able to document the whales, most exciting day of the program so far!

Of course it’s not all play, we have been doing a lot of work too! We’ve been preparing our proposals, and trying to figure out our methods before we set sail. It all feels a little rushed but we have to get it done while the whales are still here. Lots of research and reading going on.

Talk to you all when we get back on land!



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