Monday, May 28, 2007

Daupin Island: Day 2

I got into my dorm yesterday. At first I was a bit nervous about the many older people that are here, but I managed to calm down eventually--meeting a few individuals that one would expect at this type of deal. Not so much fish and invert geeks like myself, but more like laid-back B-C students looking for a good time and a decent educational experience. My roommate is 23, and seems like a fairly decent sort of guy, albeit slightly messy. The Island's prime activity seems to be drinking. I guess that's all one would expect of a sea-lab filled with people this age.

Accommodations are limited, and not anything near what we have at UAH. Two people to a room with an air-conditioner and three closets. And that's about it. There are showers and bathrooms across the hall, and a cafeteria in the building beside this one.

I wish I had someone that was a little more pumped up about the ocean to talk to. But I guess this'll do. It should make owning the class a bit more easy, I suppose.

I've been making walks on the beach every afternoon so far, and got the idea that I'd share what I found everyday. Yesterday I found a good thousand hermit crabs up near the rocks, close to the dorms. Along with the hermits were several Blue crabs--but oddly they weren't anywhere to be found today. I wonder why they were missing. I did find one particular hermit in a rather nice lightning whelk shell (about 20cm in length). Inside the shell, along with the hermit, was perched a porcelain crab. Porcelain crabs have these nice feathery projections off their claws to seine water for food particles. I thought finding two species of crab together in the same shell to be interesting, so interesting in fact that I almost neglected to notice the other inhabitants of the same shell. Barnacles were also encrusted all over the shell.. and in the whirls of the shell, a small snail (elongate periwinkle? I need to consult an id book on this one) sat. This whole rocky tide pool area seemed almost devoid of living snails, the hermits had taken over! Further down the beach I noticed the siphon holes from some donax clams (the colorful guys you tend to see on the beach). I decided to dig a few out, and was immediately taken by the colors and size of these clams. They seemed much larger than most that I have found in my past, and their color! Why would these clams have such bright colors? Some blue, pink, yellow, some with gold stripes. What would be the evolutionary explanation for such elegant colors....especially when they spend most of their lives beneath the sand!

I'll leave you (and me) with that thought. I'll try and post (or at least record) my beach findings in the upcoming days.



haley said...

(gosh, I feel a a long comment coming on!)

That's fairly disappointing about the people there. Although now you have no distractions from exploring, plus your instructor(s) will be relieved to have you! ;) I hope it gets better as you continue finding interesting things.

It's a shame the beaches down there have been developed so much. No more natural sand dunes... don't even get me started on the wetlands. *sigh* (at least the sea gulls are benefiting--HA)

p.s. Go out chasing sand crabs at night. :P

Tragic Anti Hero said...

Hn... that is interesting about the clams. Have you came up with any theories as to why they are so strongly colored?

I wouldn't expect all or even the majority of students on such classes to be nearly as motivated as you. They usually are looking for an easy grade and a vacation all-in-one deal. Don't get discouraged though, I'm sure you will enjoy yourself no matter what.

Joey said...

Aw, man. I'm sorry there's a bunch of Chrises there.

Sorry about the rooms, too.

Thank God for UAH!! (minus the cafeteria. . .)

You better be taking pictures, you shaft!