Work has proceeded along and we still do much of the same projects. Lobster and scallop collections are still going strong, and lobster dissections continue throughout this month and next. Rick and Chris have asked me to stay on as a diver through September, in order both to help finish out the collection season and to help with classes that start at the Darling Marine Center soon. My Our World Underwater Scholarship Society funds will have run their course – providing me with an excellent summer of experience – but UMaine and AAUS have been generous enough to help extend that grant through to the new ending date. I am very excited to be able to stay and help, as I have never had the opportunity to dive as frequently or for as so many varied purposes as I have here at the DMC! I’m extremely excited to stay at the Wahle lab and begin my own scallop predation project as well as continue lobster collections, but I am equally excited to get to help out with the Scientific Diving class hosted here by the Semester by the Sea.
Lobster experiments have become more focused on collecting young-of-year (YOYs), which are particularly evasive this season but generally difficult to find. These less than 1cm long lobsters are difficult to find among the rocks at our sampling sites, which makes hand collection practically impossible for those who haven’t been collecting them for years. Suction sampling – the art of collecting lobsters with large, tank-run PVC pipe – has become easier for me since the start of the summer, but even this process doesn’t guarantee their collection. Holding them in the lab is even harder, as they escape easily from well ventilated (read holey) containers. Dissections and measuring continues as well, and a larger in-field project will start once we have enough lobsters to deploy!
One of my formerly least favorite dive sites was redeemed this week on one of the most gorgeous summer days Maine has had so far. Of course we didn’t bring the GoPro to grab pictures but it was an extremely calm day that let us explore some underwater swim throughs and partially exposed boulders on the point at Rachel Carson. I’ve included the map below so you might begin to understand how this site treats swimmers in rough conditions (badly) but that its many nooks and crannies are amazing once you can gain access!
Everything is moving forward up here in Maine and I’m excited to see the start of fall. I’ll probably become more dependant on my USiA drysuit in the future, so I’m glad that certification was one of the first that I completed this summer. Water temperatures still remain around 50 degrees and visibility is highly variable. Sometime this week I’m hoping to put my newfound search and rescue techniques into use combined with my recently gained knowledge about runoff and seawater visibility to find my lately-submerged sunglasses. Other than that no problems to be found!