Spring Collecting Trip #2: Fun with ingenuity

It's day 2 at the shipyard, and trip participants (including my boss, Deb) have started to arrive this morning. It's fun to see how excited the new folks get as they come aboard.

I noticed an interesting thing today. Being out on a boat for long periods of time can provide some unique challenges--collecting and housing fish can be an unpredictable business, and if you realize that you need a certain piece of equipment while out at sea, you're limited to what you have available on the boat. Aquarists are some of the most creative people around when it comes to taking the objects at hand and turning them into workable solutions to problems, and the boat is full of really neat examples of that creativity.

Here's a top and bottom view of a barrel lid that's been created out of pieces of stretchy but firm wetsuit fabric to keep objects in, but allow quick access to a reaching aquarist :

Many reef fish are shy and reclusive, so during their time in the boat's holding areas, it's helpful for them to have places to hide to keep from getting stressed out. There's lots of PVC pipe available on the boat, and some people have used heat guns to turn pieces of pipe into great little refuge spaces to put into the fish pens:

My favorite so far, though, is the makeshift splint that Sherrie created for herself this morning after hurting her thumb:

The best thing about this is that we're still docked at the shipyard, and equipment and medical supplies are still relatively easy to come by. I think aquarists just do this stuff because they like it. It's kind of a part of their nature. I bet she'd do the same thing at home. There's a great 'roll with it' attitude and sense of ingenuity on the boat, and it's really contagious. Right now I'm trying to rig up some kind of contraption to make my frequent collisions with the boat's door-frames less painful:

That's the expert hand of Captain John, one of our two captains for the trip. Short hair is nice and low maintenance on a trip like this, but it doesn't provide great cushioning for the tall and absent-minded. I'm sure somebody will come up with something.

- Tim

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