It has now been 4 weeks since I departed for the Five Finger Lighthouse in Southeast Alaska. The time has gone by rapidly and the experience has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Tomorrow I will be heading back to Petersburg and leaving the Lighthouse behind. We have spent the last few days finishing some sampling and cataloguing sounds. We have taken it upon ourselves to name each sound, with names varying from words like “thwop” and “raindrop.” We have all been huddled around the table with headphones on and hot chocolate in our mugs while listening to whales. We were also fortunate to see another small pod of Killer whales swim past the lighthouse. A group of nearby Sea Lions panicked and we were able to watch them porpoise through the air as they swam for their lives. The Sea Lions were lucky enough to make to it a Kelp Bed and wait for the Killer whales to pass. On yet another high note, a group of native Alaskans stopped by our island and took a short tour through the Lighthouse. This small group of Alaskans also happened to drop off two entire Alaskan King Crabs that they had caught earlier that day. The two crabs, valued at about 500 dollars, made for an incredible closing feast.
I would also like to mention the other interns that I have befriended and shared this experience with. They are Norma, Nicole, and Kate. Norma is currently a graduate student at Oregon State University and she primarily studies Pinnipeds. Nicole is a recent graduate from Boston University and majored in Biology. Kate is a rising senior at Eckerd College in Florida and studies Marine Science. Michelle, our Project Leader, is directing this project in tandem with the Alaska Whale Foundation as part of her master thesis. Michelle is the one who made everything possible, and for that I will always be grateful. They are all incredible people who I am happy to call my friends, and even my colleagues.
It is a funny feeling to be leaving the lighthouse so soon. I feel like I just arrived. But I am leaving the Lighthouse with memories and experiences that have allowed me to grow more than I ever thought possible. This was my first experience working in the Marine Sciences field. I know it will not be the last.
RSMAS Undergraduate Student
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