Friday, May 21, 2010
No Quite Full Circle
This is my baby girl Emma (in the shades) and her college buddy Elise.
Emma was home last week for a break between spring term and summer term at USF, so I invited her along on my Marine Science field trip.
After all, she's 3/4 of the way to a degree in secondary science education, so she might as well see how a REAL field trip operates.
Elise is training for the same career, so I told Em to ask her along.
It was only about 4 short years ago that Emma had been a student on this very same trip ... as if any two Gulf trips are ever the same! ... but you know what I mean. She has come almost full circle from student to teacher.
I thought she might see it from a different perspective as an almost teacher ... at the very least, she and Elise could have a great time on the water and I could be around my girl just a little longer before she headed back to school.
Elise is a Jersey girl and had never thrown a castnet ... the HORROR!
It took about 10 minutes of tutoring to change that.
She's a quick study.
Look at that!
She's got the knack. She did great.
The week before the trip, I took my classes out to the school yard and gave castnet throwing lessons, so they would feel confident and actually use the nets on the trip.
Like the Grinch, my heart swells a couple of times in size when I walk a newbie through the steps of casting a net and then watch as they throw a perfect circle ... and if they don't, ... if that first throw is a banana?
Well, we just do a quick technique adjustment ala, ... "You did fine, but you have to let go of the rope." ... or ... " Just a little more body spin and that net will open."
They always get it in the end and they throw like crazy on the trip. Even when every fish for a quarter mile has been scared away by dozens of kids alternately tossing castnets, they throw, and they throw, and they throw.
I love it.
Their bucket lists just got shortened by one item.
Elise and Emma taking a lunch break.
I shared tips with the college girls about logistics and rules, ... and I stressed that these were older, honor class students ... a middle school trip would be vastly more stressful and exhausting ... with lots more chaperones needed ... and perhaps some valium.
Just kidding ... sorta.
I can't let you go without sharing at least one more catch from the field trip.
The fish in the picture is a leather jacket. It's a member of the mackeral gang and this one is the biggest one I have ever caught. Usually leather jackets in our nets are juvies about 4 inches long, but this one is an adult.
It's a beautiful fusiform fish, built for speed and hunting other critters. It's amazing how shiny mirror-like skin can be so obvious out of the water and yet make the fish almost invisible under the water as it reflects it's surroundings.
I only held it for a momentary photo, but it still managed to spike me with those sharp fin spikes you see.
I can mark "get finned by a leather jacket" off my bucket list now.