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Much Ado About… Everything

Posted by: | August 17, 2017 | No Comment |

As part of wrapping up my summer here with the Coastal Management Program my mentor suggested I make a list of everything related to the King Tides project that still needs to be completed. Unfortunately, due to babies being born and vacations being had, we didn’t have all the right people in the right place at the right time, but alas! The work will still [hopefully] get done. The photo project is also an annual and ongoing initiative therefore there will always be SOMETHING to do.

Seeing as that I am one post behind on my blogging I figured I’d use this to kill two birds with one stone. Or as a vegan would say: cut two carrots with one knife (tho that seems like a much easier feat to accomplish).

 La da da da data!

(please play sound clip for reference)

Currently all the data we have (location, direction, time, photographer name) about the photos on this iteration of the map is in a different format from the future data that will be generated via our new survey platform, Survey123. My hope was to have access to this data sooner than my last week and really have time to clean it up, but now we’ve done what we could to put a dent in it and will take this as a chance to learn about what should be done moving forward.

We have about 415 photos that need to be individually viewed and placed at their correct location because they were uploaded and plotted without a lat/long. These photos come from a batch of 1065 photos spanning from 2009 to 2015. These points, along with the others on the current map containing all the data from the 2015/16 and 2016/17 (about 1,800 total), will then be combined to form a final map with EVERYTHING FINALLY IN ITS PLACE! I plan to check back as the season approaches to see if progress is made towards this awesome end goal.

Once there is a final map the photos can be re-downloaded and placed into the corresponding albums on Flickr since we are moving away from the jumbled photo stream. Tip for Flickr users: you can’t add other people’s photos to your oh-so-beautifully organized albums /: A problem we encountered early on that may be resolved some time in the future.


As the season approaches it’s important to keep people engaged and up to date with what we’re doing. Continuing to post to Instagram, Twitter, and FB will help remind people of the upcoming season and encourage them to participate.

I’ve been able to schedule a handful of Facebook posts starting now and finishing all the way after the end of the season in January (who knew you could do that!) They include links to our social media platforms and helpful pages on our website. Directing people to specific info instead of the entire website will hopefully draw their attention get them to keep coming back.

Meg is awesome with the Twitter account while Instagram was always my thing, so I’m drafting a bunch of Instagram posts for her so that they’re ready to once the season picks up! One thing I’ve done is chopped up the video I made for the site into little bits that can be posted one at a time. The longer video is on our FAQ page, but if you want to check it out I’ve linked it below!


(another great reference that I hope you’re all familiar with)

One of the last things to be done as the season approaches is to send out all the emails to our updated PR list. Overtime I gathered information about popular Oregon photographers and Public Works people who may be interested in participating in the project. They are two very different groups of people but both are relevant! We’re hoping to get some great stock images from the photographers while the Public Works people may be more familiar with the infrastructure damage and erosion that comes with the King Tides.

In the end I’m hoping another intern can come in quite soon and pick up where I left off. During the season there will be much more work to be done and this summer we’ve built a great foundation.

Cheers to Snoop Dogg, Blue’s Clues, and my second to last blog post. The end (and apocECLIPSE) is near!

under: sea_haye, Summer Scholars, Uncategorized

This summer I have been interning with the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) contributing to my mentor’s ongoing research on the ecological role of oyster aquaculture in estuaries. As part of my mentor’s work, he maintains relationships with the oyster growers at our sites, who are actually some of our biggest stakeholders in supporting the continuance of the work that we do. This initially took me by surprise, as agriculture and environmentalism are often pinned against one another. As we continue to hear about pesticides contaminating our water and soil (https://water.usgs.gov/edu/pesticidesgw.html ), rainforests being destroyed for cattle ranching (http://globalforestatlas.yale.edu/amazon/land-use/cattle-ranching ), and monoculture bringing the demise of domestic honeybees (https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/honey-bees-and-monoculture-nothing-to-dance-about/), agriculture is an easy culprit to pin many of our environmental woes on. I, myself, have been vegetarian for the past four years in order to reduce my environmental impact and “vote with my dollar” as they say (http://time.com/4266874/vegetarian-diet-climate-change/ ).

So, when I had the chance, during our most recent field trip to Washington, to meet the senior biologist of a local Washington oyster growing company, I was pleasantly surprised and excited by the experience.

Oysters scattered in the mud: on-bottom oyster aquaculture– one of the culture types I have been studying this summer

Aptly named Longline Aquaculture– the other type of aquaculture I have been studying

It was lunch time during one of our days out in the field and my mentor told us (us= myself, our lab tech, and graduate student) that a friend of his from one of the oyster companies was coming to meet up with us for a bit. During the lunch, we discussed issues such as the use of pesticides on burrowing shrimp (which loosen the mud causing the oysters to sink into it and suffocate), the difference between the value of punishing environmental harm and the value of preventing degradation before it starts, and the age-old question in ecology: what is natural? If we want to conserve or restore something, what is the true natural state of the system that we want to restore it to?

It was exciting getting to meet and talk with an employee of agriculture who so passionately spoke of the same issues that I am concerned with. I’ll be honest, between my degree in Environmental Science, the like-minded environmentalists I surround myself with, and media today, my education on agriculture has been very one-sided, lacking near any perspective from the agriculture side. Of course, there are (huge) differences between industrial agriculture and smaller-scale farmers (like the oyster growers), however it is still comforting to see environmental concern at any level of agriculture.

I am grateful for the opportunity I have had this summer to see first-hand the agricultural process, especially for a non-vegetarian product, and humanize the farmers behind it. Most of the growers in the bays we work in truly love their bays and want to minimize their impact.

Boating off to one of our study sites in Willapa Bay (a rare sunny morning)

under: Uncategorized

This last week has felt very relativistic. I’m not sure what happened to all of the hours, which depression in the fabric of space-time continuum I rolled into. No one went to the field, every one retreating to their respective labs and offices. Politics continued to get crazier, NPR hard to listen to on the morning commute. Fred Meyer staged their eclipse survival supplies by the front door of every store. It even rained on Sunday! I continue to feel like a slinky on an escalator; the end near, while never quite arriving.

My proposal to stay on at the EPA as a volunteer and continue my work with respiration rates has been approved. I feel good. I have one more week to go in this internship, and then I’m on my own with the BOD bottles, data sheets, and the strange state of informed ignorance that doing science puts me in. September is coming, a time of beginnings and ends. 12 years ago, September found me with a canteen and a rifle patrolling a New Orleans devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Ten years ago, I held back the tears as the bus drove away from the barracks, taking me and my brothers to an airfield and Iraq. If my old sergeant major could see me now, he’d probably shake his head. “Jennings, how’d you end up a geek, a fish-squeezer, a civilian?” “It must have been my people skills, sergeant major.”

For the last several days, my main task has been the construction of a poster for our final presentation this Friday. I was somewhat surprised to find that no one enjoys writing them. From the number of posters mounted along the walls of every hallway in the building, you might think otherwise. Many folks told me that they enjoy the process of preparing papers for publication, even the revision process, yet there was universal disdain of science posters. The results of my informal survey pointed to several issues: the lack of space to properly fit relevant items, the difficulty in keeping fonts and formatting from going screwy at the printer’s, and the seemingly impossible demand to turn quantitative analysis into sophisticated cave drawings with minimal text and maximum cool factor. Despite the odds, I managed to complete my poster by the deadline (Monday), and I took advantage of the many excellent examples around me to make the best poster I have ever made! To be honest, it’s only the second one I have ever made, but it’s a significant improvement over the last. I found excellent conceptual diagrams to use and minimized confusing figures or charts.

It feels good to make something that will be manifest in meat-space reality. It will be a tangible thing, unlike so many things that I make as a student. It’s a strange process, being a student who remembers mimeographs and typewriters: I conduct research and reading digitally, type a paper digitally, submit the assignment digitally, and look for my reward, a number in the “grades” tab on a website that means “good job” or “uh oh”. The dominance of the digital realm sometimes leaves me feeling empty, bereft of any proof that I have been, that I have felt, that I am here on planet Earth doing things. Posters erupt from the binary and claim their place among the living, reminding me that we are still just sophisticated animals that need to stare at things together, point and go “Hmmmm. What?”

under: Uncategorized


Posted by: | August 15, 2017 | 2 Comments |

I briefly mentioned in my last blog post that a couple of weeks ago I went to the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology in Charleston for one of their summer seminars. NOAA Marine ecologist Robert Pitman of the Southwest Marine Fisheries Science Center was presenting his research on killer whales in the Antarctic, and man, did I learn a lot. I have focused on terrestrial mammals for most of my degree, primarily domesticated species, and therefore have an elementary (if that, even) supply of knowledge about marine mammals. It’s kind of a shame and a bit embarrassing; I have lived in a coastal state for almost four years now and haven’t really realized how interested I am in the ocean and its inhabitants until this past year. It started when I began working for the Estuary Program in Morro Bay, watching the sea otters float past from our office and listening to the sea lions barking on the dock throughout the day. The combination of my insecurity about not having a ton of formal education in marine biology and probably the apprehension of breaking the news to my family (located in a landlocked state) that I might stay in ocean/coastal science forever has prevented me from seriously realizing that this is indeed what I am interested in. And yet, this summer it feels as though I’ve done quite a bit of catching up.

That’s why I was eager to see Robert’s lecture, and it also turned out to be a source of some significant connections with other people in the whale community. I met Joy Primrose, the president of The American Cetacean Society’s Oregon Chapter, mostly because I said I liked her tote bag, which was adorned with a Lisa-Frank-meets-Christian-Lassen style orca pattern. She was telling me about a photographer based out of Portland who has given whale photography workshops and that he just recently did some work out of Port Orford. Upon telling me we should connect, I realized she was talking about Erik Urdahl, one of the photographers that Dustin and I worked with a few weeks ago. Erik started The Spout, an organization dedicated to connecting people with whales and promoting their conservation.

I immediately emailed him asking if he is offering any more whale photography workshops, and he said no, but instead offered to take Dustin and I out to Depoe Bay for a casual whale watching excursion. He kindly lent me his telephoto lens and we took a Zodiac with Gary at The Whale’s Tail out on the water. You have to realize, I’ve never been near a whale. I saw a grey whale spout maybe twice from far away on a boat in Mexico last winter, but that hardly counts. In short, there was a lot of shrieking and profane language, because how else do you contain that kind of excitement? As Erik says, the excitement was up the wazoo. I also got to (yes, my use of the words “got to” are to emphasize what a privileged this was) experience the fragrant scent of whale ‘breath’ for the first time.



That weekend, because I clearly didn’t get enough, I met Joy at the Devil’s Punchbowl lookout/Otter Rock Marine Reserve to help her survey visitors about their demographic information, their awareness of Oregon’s Marine reserves, and their knowledge about whales. Most of the visitors were not from Oregon; in fact, most of the ones I talked to at least were from the Midwest and hadn’t ever seen a whale. Some had never even seen the Pacific Ocean. Thankfully, a lone grey whale spent the majority of the morning meandering between Gull Rock and a large kelp forest a few hundred meters south, and it showed off its flukes many times for a number of excited people. We also may have seen a harbor porpoise! We then visited Depoe Bay and watched 6 or 7 whales surface over and over while they fed on mycids inside the bay. Later that day, we went back to Joy’s house and I bought this book and the most recently updated poster of cetaceans of the world.

The rest of the weekend was spent rushing to Boardman again for the sunset, exploring rivers with the roommates, and meeting some horses. Another unreal week down.




under: Uncategorized

This week in the office didn’t seem to have much spare time. It was mostly spent wrapping up loose ends on the communications side and doing background research for the Sea Grant final presentation (that is on Friday?? Man this flew by quick). It was so busy that there was only enough time for two cinnamon bun break trips this week at Fishtail Cafe!

Before we go any further in this blog, these buns must be discussed. Fishtail Cafe is in the Aquarium Village, located roughly a 45 second walk from the Marine Reserves office. Which makes it super convenient when you’re running low on coffee and can’t be bothered to make more back at your apartment. It all started on a normal day probably 4-5 weeks ago now… We had heard from the other ODFW employees that Fishtail was a pretty alright cafe, not bad but nothing special. I had eaten there once and had exactly that experience. But as I walked in to get a refill of coffee, one of the waitresses walked by me with a cinnamon bun, glazed over with icing, that barely fit on their mid-sized desert plates. I don’t reckon I could have palmed it with one hand. At that moment I knew I had to have one. The waitress explained that they make them in house every week and they almost always run out. She heated mine up and brought it out, making sure to let me know that there was extra butter if I needed it. Let me assure you this bun did not need butter. Each bite just melts in your mouth and the icing just tops it off. In proper cinnamon bun fashion, each bite gets better as you go around the spiral. With the last center bite sending you straight to heaven (or to the hospital with the amount of butter they must use in each one). Without a doubt the top 3 cinnamon buns I’ve ever had have been the last 3 from Fishtail Cafe. Who would have guessed the Aquarium Village in Newport Oregon would have the GOAT of cinnamon buns? I messaged Zach and told him he needed to experience this for himself. From then on it has become tradition. They know us by name and refer to us as their “boys” or “honey”. We don’t even have to wait to be seated, we just go to our same spot every time! Its fantastic. This week it was our favorite waitress’ birthday. We gave her big ol’ hugs and told her how much we would miss this place and their cinnamon buns. They even said they would hang up a picture of us if we get one framed, proper regulars! If you don’t believe me take a look at this bad boy (cinnamon bun, not Zach):

At $4.50 each, these buns have been a dangerous investment for both my buns and wallet. 

Now that the important stuff is out of the way… The large majority of the remaining time has been spent in the office doing various office activities:

  1. I’ve created a new photo organization protocol for the Marine Reserves team. Now all of our photos from research, community events and landscape photos can be nicely organized in separate folders on the server. Yay!
  2. I worked with the ecological monitoring team to fact check all of the blog and social media posts I’ve written over the past 8 weeks. Now almost completely edited they should be ready to go out into the world! Stay tuned and subscribe to our newsletter at: http://oregonmarinereserves.com/ (One last shameless plug)
  3. Read a bunch of articles on campaign planning, evaluation and the importance of community engagement in preparation for my poster and presentation. Next weeks blog post will probably be on that subject.

AND AS IF I ALMOST FORGOT. YA BOY WAS IN THE FIELD THIS WEEK. As much as I enjoy the process of communications, I love to be out in the field interacting with people and the environment. Doing that kind of work and being in those situations are what drives so many people to this field. This summer I had high hopes that most of the work that we would be doing would be community engagement out in the field. We got a taste of it in the first couple of weeks and since then it has just been office work. Which is important, just not nearly as exciting. So when the opportunity came to get out in the rocky intertidal zone and survey sea stars for wasting disease… I was 100% on board. So bright and early, we threw the ODFW rubber boots, bibs, gloves and measuring tapes in the back of the ODFW truck and headed toward Otter Rock Marine Reserve. After a quick stroll to the rocky intertidal we set up shop and got into some science. Searching through kelp and tidal pools just gets your inner kid so excited.


Zach and Nina down and dirty in the intertidal


When ya boy gets out of the office


Hello? Did someone say Sea Grant product placement?


Lesson #1 from the Rocky Intertidal: Surveying is all about getting comfortable

Getting to spend the whole morning with wicked friends doing wicked science! There isn’t much more you can ask for. It was some much needed time in nature to get you mentally ready to take on presentation week.


Last note: Alexis partaking in the epic program Take 3. It’s a program a friend of a friend started in Australia that is a campaign for awareness of trash in our oceans. It’s super easy and gets people involved by taking 3 pieces of trash with you whenever you go to the oceans, waterways or anywhere. It’s an epic program and I hope it starts catching on in America. Find out more at www.take3.org!


under: Uncategorized

This past week was devoted to the August fish seining in South Slough. Since I already spent one blog post describing the process (http://wp.me/p64Blw-1cd), I figured that for my blog post this week I would highlight some of the fish species that we have been encountering during the seining.

The Pacific staghorn sculpin (Leptocottus armatus) is commonly found in South Slough. It has spiky projection on its gill cover that it can raise when threatened. They also sometimes vibrate when threatened. Here’s a tiny staghorn sculpin:


And a bigger one:


Many different species of perch live in the South Slough, including Shiner perch (Cymatogaster agregata), White seaperch (Phanerodon furcatus), Walleye surfperch (Hyperprosopon argenteum), silver surfperch (Hyperprosopon ellipticum) and Pile perch (Rhacochilus vacca).

This week we caught a striped seaperch (Embiotoca lateralis):


We also get a few different species of flatfish (fish that live on the seafloor and swim on their side, with both eyes on one side of their body). English sole (Parophrys vetulus) are most common, but there are also Speckled sanddab (Citharichthys stigmaeus), and starry flounder (Platichthys stellatus). We got a huge starry flounder this week, which was really unusual.

A tiny English sole:


And a starry flounder:


We also caught a bay pipefish (Syngnathus leptorhynchus). Bay pipefish live in eelgrass beds, and their bodies mimic a strand of eelgrass. Pipefish are related to seahorses, and the males incubate the eggs, just like seahorses.


Juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) also appear pretty frequently. There are both wild Chinook and hatchery-raised Chinook. We can tell wild-born from hatchery-raised Chinook from the adipose fin (a small fin behind the dorsal fin): hatchery Chinook have their adipose fin clipped, while wild Chinook do not.


It’s been so much fun seining and learning about the different fish in the South Slough this summer. I’m going to miss it!

under: Uncategorized

Fire & Ice Cream

Posted by: | August 8, 2017 | 2 Comments |

This week, I finally made a stop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory’s visitor’s center and had 2 scoops of caramel butter pecan ice cream. It was an unusual 88 degrees in Tillamook that day and we were headed to Garibaldi to install sensor rigging beneath a pier and collect water samples. It was a nice break from the car ride from Newport and the already long day. I had spent the morning learning how to analyze cholorophyll samples with the Turner Designs 10AU fluorometer. While not especially difficult, making sure to do every thing in the right order with the right checks conducted can get confusing fast when you’ve only had 5 hours of sleep. Analysis is conducted under low-light levels, and the fluorometer gives off a fire-red glow from it’s power button that is both sinister and sedating. It was a long morning with too little coffee, the 10AU glaring at me like the frighteningly incomprehensible machine that it is inside the dull black, ruggedized case. Science apparatus can often-times look quite frightening for no reason at all. The 10AU says, “I might explode,”, it’s red light screaming, “look out”. The fluorometer is just a fancy lamp, but it sure doesn’t look like that or feel like that when you’re sleep-deprived and concentrating on doing things right because the samples are not practice samples. Why can’t it look like an ipod?

After the welcome ice cream break, we launched the boat and tied up beneath the pier of interest. The installation of the sensor rigging and test package went off without a hitch. I took pictures to document the project, and collected water for BOD incubation and nutrient analysis. The test package, with a somewhat sacrificial sensor, will be retrieved shortly to check the data and see how the whole set up did with the tides.

My respiration runs have yielded interesting variation in rates, and as the time to present this research and talk about its implications comes near, I am forced to admit that I am intrigued by what I have found so far but cannot explain it or say just what it means in terms of pH, carbonate chemistry, or nutrient pollution. Perhaps the most important knowledge gained at this point is a sense of the magnitude of change involved in respiration rates, how those rates might change spatially and temporally, and how best to measure them.

I am incubating the last samples taken from beneath a pier in Garibaldi near the mouth of the bay. The three samples were taken over the time that we were there installing the rigging, as the tide changed. It will be interesting to see the results. The last sample was taken as sea water was rushing back in to the bay and was super-saturated with oxygen, unlike any sample incubated so far. Exciting!

under: Uncategorized

Extra Curricular Activities??

Posted by: | August 7, 2017 | 4 Comments |

Every blog post I have written so far (and the following blogs in the next few weeks) has dealt with work and the work environment. But ya boy hasn’t just writing blogs and working this whole summer. Oh no, the rowdy strapping group of educated youths at Hatfield Marine Science Center have been taking full advantage of their limited time in Oregon. Ranging from weekend trips to Crater Lake to organized camping trips through Sea Grant and REU program, we’ve been getting as much exposure to (arguably) the most beautiful state in the US.


Waterfalls and Mt. Hood

Zach and I were lucky enough to hop on the REU camping trip a few weeks back. The highlight of the trip (besides the wonderful bonding we experienced) was hiking up to the tree line of Mt. Hood. It was a beautiful day for a hike. Not a cloud in the sky, yet there was a coolness in the air that made it perfect for shirts and t-shirts. Crossing snow patches in 85 degree weather just boggled my New England mind. If these snow patches were the leftovers, it made me wonder what these trails looked like at the peak of winter. 14 miles round a trip to just over 9000 feet, not too bad!

Zach and Dimitri, part of the DIVAs (Dads in Vertical Ascent) (Not actual dads), under the snow capped peak of Mt. Hood.


Beautiful days in the high 80s with snow are just a recipe for impromptu snow ball fights


The REU camping trip also included visiting just a bunch of waterfalls. Of the ones we did visit, two stick out clearly in my mind. Those two were the Tamanawas Falls and the Multnomah Waterfall. The Tamanawas Falls are a huge 100 foot waterfall at the end of a nice easy hike through the forest. There were a few thing that made these falls stand out:

  1. They were about as thick of a waterfall as they come. It wasn’t a wimpy tall stream coming down, the amount of water pouring off of this cliff was unreal! You could hear the roar a good 5 minutes before it properly came into view.
  2. By scrambling over a few moss covered boulders and accepting the fact the spray was going to drench you, you were able to get behind the falls. Behind the falls was a massive cavern that had incredible views of the water pouring down, the stream winding its way through the forest and the mosses that covered every rock that was touched by the spray. I’ve seen some falls in my days, but this was epic.


This summer I’ve committed to honing the photography skills I’ve picked up during my online intro to photography 101 class I took 2 years a go. Ya boy is shooting on M!

Multnomah waterfall was great too! Thanks to instagram I felt like I had already seen it a hundred times before, but it was still so much more beautiful in real life than in the pictures. The highlight of this waterfall was that I found my doppelgänger?? A more accurate description is someone who likes kind of like me, but was wearing oddly similar clothing. Naturally I didn’t say a word to him. I opted for a casual walk over and awkwardly stand next to him and his girlfriend. Then, as if life became a scene in a movie, the crowd of tourists staring at the Multnomah falls split and gave professional discreet photographer Zach Clemens the perfect moment to snap a picture. Highlight reel moment for sure.

Me, myself and a bunch of tourists.

The next activity was the Sea Grant camping trip! While not as intense as hiking Mt. Hood it was still in tents!!! Hahaha…. God that was dreadful. I am so sorry. Uh.. anyway, the real highlight of the camping trip was getting the chance to really connect with the South Coast Sea Grants. So many great conversations. It’s so interesting hearing the contrast of Newport and Coos Bay living conditions and all of their projects. It’s a shame we’re very quickly running out of weekends! I’d be super keen to go explore a bit more of the south coast of Oregon. Especially the river snorkeling that Catie was talking about, that sounds so sick!


The big activity that we had was visiting the Tamolitch Blue pool. An unreal freshwater spring with water so clear that while it may look 5 feet deep, it’s at least 40 feet in some parts. This perspective change really threw me off when it came time to go cliff jumping. The clearness of the water made it look so much closer than it was! I kept hearing 70 foot cliff, but it just looked life a 30-40 footer. Wrong, it was definitely a 70. I had that realization moment mid air when I found myself thinking that I probably should have hit the water by then, but instead kept on falling. Great stuff! We were also told that the water was around 38 degrees Fahrenheit. But, you hear 38 degrees Fahrenheit and it doesn’t really translate because you have nothing to compare it to. But let me tell you, I’ve never felt water so cold that it made it hard to breathe! It was as if my lungs were being compressed by a large ice block resting on my chest. It was wild. Zach and I joked about bringing our wetsuits, in hindsight, that probably would have been a good idea!

Other highlights include: Allie and her hand + Dutch Bros and their confusion with ordering a normal black coffee + Dustin finding a big fish at night

Zach diving in after a nice 20 minute warm up in the sun

Finally (not really finally for everything we’ve done, but rather for this blog post), last weekend we took it upon ourselves to go camping at Crater Lake! I remember first meeting everyone in Corvallis and having a conversation about how we all are determined to go to Crater Lake this summer. Well guess who did it? Ya interns did. This trip came together as a spur of the moment decision that we decided during the Sea Grant camping trip. With less than a week to plan the trip (mostly done by Julia, thank you Julia), it came together in a hurry. Most camping spots were full, but Julia came through and found some dude on Airbnb that was renting out a camping spot in his yard! However, his yard turned out to be a dusty road in the middle of his farm. There’s nothing like 5 people in a 3 person tent on a slight decline, with some rocks in your spine to put you to sleep at night, am I right? Mediocre sleep aside, it felt like a real adventure and it honestly made the trip so much more interesting. The 2 guys we were staying with lived in a bus with their 3 dogs and 25+ ducks. They were quite the characters and had some very interesting conversations with them about politics, the environment, aliens, and white water rafting. As great as they were, we didn’t come for the conversations. We came for this big ol beautiful lake. You always see pictures of it online. Even National Geographic photographers just can’t seem to capture how incredible it is. Pictures can’t translate the feeling of awe, as you stand before it. That is what gives you the full experience. Can you believe the guys we stayed with had never been there?? They live an hour away! Unreal I tell you, unreal. The hike and drives were incredible. But my favorite moment might have been swimming in the lake itself. Naturally, Zach and I brought our dive masks again. Easily 50 foot visibility with chilly water, but not nearly as cold as Tamolitch! After swimming out for a bit we could see where it drops off. We were able to dive down to stand on the edge of the drop off and peer down into the dark blue. That is so spooky. Even though there isn’t anything that can hurt you living in there (knock on wood) it just made you feel small seeing how awe inspiring it was. 10/10

I really hope this isn’t as blurry as it is in the preview picture…


under: Uncategorized

Two Lazy Weekends

Posted by: | August 6, 2017 | 2 Comments |

So to contrast my last post about two incredibly sweet, adventure-filled weekends, I am going to write about the lazy, content slug-state that I have been in for these past two weekends. However to make up for this lack of excitement, I will be posting film photos from the weekend with Justin and Erik that I just recently got developed!

Sunset at Samuel Boardman

If you read any of this blog you may have seen that some of the Scholars went to Crater Lake a couple weekends ago. I was hoping to go and join in on the camaraderie but unfortunately my mental health wasn’t too great at the time. I was stressed and anxious and I just did not feel like I had a lot of time to myself, especially given the hustle and bustle of the last two weekends. So, I opted out of the trip and decided to stay in Coos Bay. Now let me tell you, as an individual who is 90% extrovert and has a very severe case of FOMO, this was a difficult decision to make. On top of that, I was bummed out that I would be missing out on chances to experience these beautiful places with these people that I am fortunate enough to be placed in a program with and who(m) I may never see again till who knows when. I’m a big believer in the notion that people make experiences meaningful. Whether a person is chill or not so chill, they have a story and being able to know just a part of it, or even play a small part in that story, is something that I find is the absolute best part about being human. So yes, it was tough to say no. But, I am very happy I did because I had a fantastically simple time here in the Bae.

Harris Beach

On Friday (last, last weekend) I drove down to Port Orford after work so that I could do a kayaking tour that Dave Lacey had invited me to. Well it turns out that when a person invites you to a 7:30 kayaking tour, they mean AM, not PM. So, rather than sulk around feeling stupid about this horrible miscommunication I contacted Rowland Willis (one of the photographers we work with) and his wife Christie. They took me on a lovely little hike at Coos Head and I got to see a Peregrine falcon baby and its momma! I also found a hat on the trail that I am just in love with (still haven’t washed it though)  ((yes, I am dirty and gross)). But yeah, time spent with Rowland and Christie is always nice because they just are two chillsters from a totally different generation coming from a totally different place. They said they would adopt me if I need them too which I think is pretty damn sweet. I really hope to see them again before I leave here.

Fishing in Brookings

On Saturday, I woke up early and went to church. A little background on myself you might not know, I was raised Seventh-day Adventist and pretty much grew up going to church every Saturday till I left for college. If you don’t know the religion, which I’d say 4 out of 5 people generally don’t, you should look it up. Honestly, pretty culty and unusual sounding to an outsider (myself included) but they have a few pretty neat beliefs and they follow a strict diet, so much so that Loma Linda, the Adventist capital of the world, is listed as one of the four Blue Zones in the world (a Blue Zone is where the oldest people in the world live). One of those neat beliefs is the Sabbath. Adventists really take the Fourth Commandment to heart, believing that God created the world in six literal days and that he rested on the seventh. Since I was born I was never allowed to do homework, go shopping, watch Saturday morning cartoons, or anything else that wasn’t seen as “honoring God” on the Sabbath aka Saturday. Even after I gave up on religion I still try not to do work on the Sabbath. No studying, no stress, no nothing. I definitely do not keep it holy like my parents had raised me to do, but I try to refrain from falling into the rhythms of other institutions by just doing me and forgetting about anything that would normally cause me stress during the week. While people might not see it as the most productive of lifestyles, I think it grounds me and gives me some air to get some perspective on why I do all the junk that I’ve got to do as a student, son, employee, and friend, so that I can continue to do them efficiently for the next six days.

When you see it…

All that being said, Coos Bay has an Adventist church here and I told myself I would check it out. Now that I had a free weekend I finally did, and it was pretty nice actually. I walked in and sat in the pews while waiting for the service to start. Within minutes an old dude with a Hawaiian shirt walked over and greeted me. His name was William and he was a 65 year old surfer dude from Corona, CA. We talked about outdoor recreation and how surfing has changed in Oregon over the years, how California has too many people, and more insignificantly chill subjects. It was nice. During the service a woman talked about how her friend’s mother, after three years of being labeled as “Missing” had finally been found. The woman said that in everything that happens, we have to remember that things don’t unfold on our time, they happen on God’s time. And though my own relationship with God is pretty damn dicey, this statement comforted me. It’s comforting to know that the things we want to achieve as soon as possible might not be what we need in the moment. Maybe we all need a little more time to reflect on what we actually have in order to truly appreciate what is going to be given to us in the future. Who knows, who even cares, my mind can go all day with this. That being said, the sermon was just awful. A woman talked for wayyyy too long about miracles in the form of receiving money so I left early and got German food. The day was followed by a stroll downtown, a Disney movie binge (Lizzie McGuire movie, Zootopia (which you have to see if you haven’t already), and Atlantis), as well as a very pleasant nap. All in all, it was a very Happy Sabbath, and while I did nothing of real significance in comparison to the sites I could have been seeing, I don’t regret a single thing.

The Sexiest Man on the Chetco

This weekend was also very lazy and laid back. On Friday, I participated in the Coos Bay Wine Walk with Julia and Katie. Crazily enough, during the walk I ran into a guy I used to play flag football with in seventh grade. That’s probably number three on my list of random encounters/coincidences I have experienced in my life. After the Wine Walk, I went bar hopping with a few friends who I rock climb with. It was a glorious night filled with beer, fantasized business talk, and giant Jenga. I went to bed at 1:30 that night but my sleep was short-lived. I woke up at 5:30 to drive down to Port Orford with Catie so that we could kayak, and I am so happy that I went because it was sweet!! For three hours we paddled along the coast, going through caves and crevices, chewing on various kelp species, seeing river otters and harbor seals and birds of all sorts. Definitely was better than church last week. The rest of the day consisted of a two and a half hour nap and Pulp Fiction at the local movie theater with my roommate Brendon. I have seen that film tons of times; it’s one of my favorites from one of my favorite directors. But seeing that movie in the theaters just blew my mind. It was like I had seen it for the first time and I could not have been more satisfied with a movie going experience. On top of that, tickets were $5! Bless up, for sure.

Dead Harbor seal in Brookings. Poor thing.

Well I’ve rambled on plenty again, but let me take this time to say that I’m a bit of a scumbag and didn’t post last week so expect to see another post by myself later this week (fingers crossed) detailing what I’ve been doing at work and such.

Here’s to the next three weeks! (Photo taken by the talented Catie)


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Week 6: Crater Lake

Posted by: | August 6, 2017 | 2 Comments |

This past weekend, a bunch of the Sea Grant scholars went to Crater Lake National Park. I had only ever been to one other national park, so since Crater Lake is only a few hours from Charleston, it was one of the top things on my list to see this summer.

We first hiked to Garfield Peak, a trail that winds along the ridge of Crater Lake to a high peak that lets you see views of the lake and mountains to the north and south. The trail passes through fields with wildflowers and groves of hemlocks, pines and firs. There were so many butterflies and bees around! There was still snow remaining towards the end of the trail that we had to cross to reach the top of the peak, but it had been compacted down and was pretty easy to cross. It was still a bit of a strange experience to hike through snow in the summer.



At the top of the peak, the views of Crater Lake and the area were beautiful. At points along the trail, you could see Cascades to the north (including one of the Sisters) and south and Mt. Shasta way off in the distance. The water in the lake was completely still when we first arrived, creating a perfect mirror of the sky, caldera, and Wizard Island.



After hiking Garfield Peak, we drove around the rim of the lake to Cleetwood Cove Trail, the only place that the water can be accessed at Crater Lake. It was a short and steep trail down to the water, where we then could jump in and swim. Though the water was cold, it was not nearly as freezing as Tamolitch Falls, so we were actually able to stay swimming in the water for about 30 minutes. It was so cool to be at the bottom of the caldera, in the water, looking up at the cliffs.


We then continued to drive on Rim Road, circumnavigating the entire lake, and stopped along the way to enjoy the view. We eventually made it back to Crater Lake Lodge in the evening, where we decided to have a drink and sit on the deck overlooking Crater Lake. It was a great end to an awesome weekend!


IMG_3888 (1)

P.S. Thank you to Katie Gregory for letting me use all her pictures since I never take any!

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