Life at the Research Center is so different from Canada. I mean that in best way possible. Our days are long but the hours are short. Everything is so structured but I never feel rushed. Everywhere I go, I can except greetings from strangers which is something I’ve come to love. Not having internet, TV, or social media … has made me feel so much more appreciative of the little things. I’ve become more present. I’ve cleared my head of much of the “city” demands. Nothing can compare to floating weightlessly over a coral reef filled with a plethora of diverse fish. Nor can one replicate eating lunch straighter off the truck as whatever site we happen to be at that day. These are moments that I’ve now gotten used to … but I know they will be the first ones I long to relive again once I’m back in Canada.
Just to provide some context here’s what a typical day looks like at the Gerace Research Center:
6:30am – Wake up
- (we may hit the snooze button one too many times)
7:30am – Breakfast
- Breakfast never fails to hit the spot
- Eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, SPAGHETTI … we’re living large over here.
8:30am – Head out for the day
- Promptly by 8:30 we have our truck loaded with things from snorkels, food, water, quadrats, corers, to test tubes and O2 meters … we have it all.
- We quickly circle the Gerace Compound; often greeted by our favourite furry friend – Rover (aka no name aka dempster aka fish) and we head off to our sampling spots.
9:00am – 11:30 am ( sample, sample, sample)
- Once we get to our desired site (often 2 before lunch) we get right to work
- For Team 1, this means drowning each other in the name of Foraminifera (Just kidding! … but no seriously) to extract a core.
- For Team 2, this means kicking up stinky sediment and sampling water.
- For Team 3, this means examining the coral reefs – sketching & recording.
12:00 – 1:00 pm (LUNCH)
- Lunch is the EXACT same every day and I WOULD NOT have it any other way.
- Mayo, mustard, bread, salami, ham, chicken, oranges, apples and of course PURPLE DRANK.
1:00 pm – 5:00pm (MORE SAMPLES)
- Often, we’ll continue to another site after lunch (stopping at anything interesting along the way) for more samples
5:30 pm (Dinner)
- After a quick shower, everyone makes their way over to the cafeteria for dinner.
- Man oh man, I have been consistently impressed with the staff here. Home cooked meals filled with authentic Bahamian love.
6:30 pm (Scrum Time)
- Prof. Laflamme & Prof. Piunno orchestrate stand up meetings in the Library promptly after dinner to discuss our progress during the day, challenges, and plans for tomorrow.
- A quick 10 minute scrum can really go a long way!
7:00pm – 12:00 (Lab Work + Cards Against Humanity)
- Once the sun sets you can find all the teams hard at work.
- Team 1 – separating Forams ( mostly praising them)
- Team 2 – going through sediment (primarily whining about the stench)
- Team 3 – going through coral footage (often uploading selfies in the process)
- We somehow always manage to find time to come together briefly during this time to unwind with cards or a board game.
After making our way back to the dorm, we find ourselves asleep, and ready to do it all over again the next day.
Reflecting on this schedule makes me think that its rather hectic. However, I wouldn’t change a single bit of it. Like I said, the days are long but the hours are short. And nothing makes time move more quickly than hard work, good times and amazing friends.