Last night was, of course, New Year’s Eve!  Due to all the excitement that I will be blogging about shortly, I was not able to write yesterday.  I’m going to give a brief summary to catch everybody up!

We DID go snorkeling yesterday morning, because the sea was quite calm.  However, some of us were too nervous to head out on a boat only 24 hours after getting seasick, so we were given the option of taking a van to a beach near the site where we were to snorkel called Runaway Bay.  11 of us eagerly piled into the van.  Because I was one of those eleven, I don’t know anything that happened on the boats, but  I do know that not one person got seasick!  I think the people that took the van got the better end of the deal though.  While we did have to swim all the way out to the snorkeling site, we were able to relax on the sandy beach when we were finished!   We met a very nice Jamaican named Stan who talked to us for what seemed to be forever.  He had some long-winded stories!  Snorkeling itself was very beautiful.  It was in deep water, which I thought I wouldn’t like.  But, I actually felt safer doing that because I wasn’t worried about bumping up against the coral.  Runaway Bay was by far the best of the three snorkels.  Yesterday we also had two lectures: the coral reef and the history of Jamaica.  Otherwise, we had a lot of free time yesterday to study and sunbathe :).  At 9:00 p.m. we watched a movie that Dr. Anderson made using the underwater film that the scuba divers in our group had been taking.  Then, we headed out to the Ultimate Jerk Center to bring in the new year!  We experienced jerk chicken, took lots of pictures, and met many Jamaicans.  I’m sure the group would agree that this was the best thing we’ve done thus far.  We all got to bed late after the party so we were able to sleep in until nine this morning.

Today we did our ethnographic interviews.  We were put into groups of two or three and dropped off at various spots around the town of Discovery Bay.  My group and I interviewed two men, Dwane and Denvar.  We asked them questions about the ecology of Jamaica, such as what concerns they have about the environment and how it impacts them.  We also were able to talk about their jobs, education, and the government.  I learned more doing this than anything else.  I really enjoyed being in town and chatting with the locals.  After we got back, each group prepared a report and presented it to the class.  It seemed as if many of the Jamaicans we interviewed do not have a great concern for the ecology.  They are so worried about having food for supper that it is no wonder they do not stress about the coral reef dying.  Education is also very important to them, but it is expensive.  Unemployment and violence plague the country.  Young adults not attending school and not working creates a breeding ground for violence.  Listening to the locals definitely reminded me to count my blessings!

It’s only a little after eight, but many of us are still tired from last night.  The next three days we have field studies to various locations.  It will be exciting to leave the compound and learn about other parts of Jamaica’s ecology besides the ocean. 

 Happy New Year!  As many of us were saying last night, “2008 is going to be great!”