Sunday, July 31, 2011

Week 1 at Friday Harbor Labs (with Orcas)

I have been on San Juan Island for a week now and it was been an adventure! I have done prey sampling in False Bay, surveys for marine birds and mammals from the ferry, identified all the different types of gulls and cormorants, and most excitably; watched a pod of orcas pass by the cliff we were on very close to shore!

I went from an 8–5 office job to field trips, going out on boats, experiencing nature on a daily basis, walking through the campus a lot and trying to stay awake during lecture. I love it! It is fun to push my boundaries and do new things. It is empowering to drive a motor boat for the first time. It is exciting to learn so much about the wildlife around me.

The campus is centered fairly close to Friday Harbor along the water. Deer roam freely and eat all day long. One morning I saw 10 deer before breakfast. I get to see kingfishers fly by and barn swallows all over the place. I heard a rumor that river otters frequent the campus as well, but I won’t believe it until I see it.

The dining staff has been incredibly accommodating for my vegan diet, along with other people’s various dietary needs. I have seen everything from vegan pizza to stuffed peppers to roasted sweet potato. The sad thing is, so much of the food is incredibly carb-heavy. It has already been a week and I am getting tired of it. Who knew I became so whole grain based! I am missing my quinoa! Although I am missing much more than quinoa, whole grains is what I am lacking the strongest it. I might even have to talk with the cafeteria to not only suggest using whole grains, but ask her to not make me special lunches, and just give me hummus for the salad bar.

Considering how great everything else is here, that issue pales in comparison. I look forward to the many more weeks ahead of me learning more about birds and mammals and exploring the island! And of course any opportunity to see orcas. That can be a matter of luck, and today I had a lot of it, spending 3 hours at Lime Kiln Park and seeing pods of the killer whales almost at all times. Check out more of my photos at my flickr account.


Carol Borrelli said...

Just wanted you to know I'm enjoying your blog and reading about your San Juan Island adventure!

Have fun!

Chelsea said...

Thanks so much for your comment!