Hello from Lough Hyne, Ireland!
We have all arrived at the Lough safe and sound after our day of traveling. One of us traveled through Amsterdam, one through Barcelona, and the rest through Heathrow/London (which by the way was experiencing weather effects from Hurricane Bertha which made flying slightly difficult). But even with some delays, we all arrived in Cork and made our way across the street to our hotel for the night. After some difficulties of not being able to work a power outlet converter, the hotel shower, melting a hair straightener, realizing forgotten items, and packing luggage for five people into the car with us we said goodbye to cell phone service and WiFi and headed for the unknown. While getting a lesson in driving on the left side of the road and streets that could not possibly fit two cars, we drove past some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen. We arrived at the Lough and were immediately stunned by the beauty of where we would be living and studying for the next five weeks. Right away, we set up all of our snorkel gear and practiced rowing around the Lough in our inflatable boats to make initial counts of sea urchins and invasive oysters. While Sarah and Ryan surveyed almost the entire Lough, Kailee and I discovered that our oar was broken and had much difficulty. We made lots of new friends from the area who gave us words of encouragement like “You’ll get the hang of it eventually” or “Keep going.” Yet our favorite one was “Do you guys know you’re rowing the wrong way?” Because of the broken oar we had to row forward to keep from being blown on shore or turning in a circle! So yes, we did know the proper rowing technique and probably looked quite funny to the locals. We ended our first day going into town for dinner only to discover that at very high tides the road gets washed out and so with the super moon being the night before there was no road for us to leave. We made our way through the water, got in the car, and experienced great food and Irish music. We are ready for a snorkel survey of the north shore tomorrow we go to bed ready to sleep for a week due to jet-lag but even more ready to get up and jump in the 17 ̊C water to see what we can see!
Looking forward to Caitlin and Carly joining us soon!