Half Way Point

Three credits down, three to go! As they say, time flies when you’re having fun.
This is one of those moments in my life when things feel right. I’m with a tiny eclectic group of wonderful people that provide me with enough nerdiness, love and laughter to finish my days satisfied and thankful. I just finished washing brambles out of my hair because we surveyed primary and secondary growth in the temperate rainforest today. We measured a sitka spruce that was 3.19 meters in diameter. How insane is that. I heard someone say that when they moved to BC, they felt like it was a ‘everything’s bigger in Texas’ kind of place – giant trees and giant slugs. Pretty accurate.

In the last couple weeks I’ve been able to see so many things! I surfed in Tofino with one of my best friends and a good surfing bro. We hung out in the town and sampled all the beer at my fav microbrewery. I’ve been to multiple beach bonfires, seen sea lions, a humpback whale, harbour porpoises and this weird bloom of cnidarians called Sailor-by-the-wind (Velella velella). Our class even hopped in a skiff one night when it was completely dark to see the bioluminescence. Have you ever seen it? It’s something you need to see to understand. It’s like every time you put an ore in the water, you get to see the night sky swirl and glow in the darkness beneath you. It’s a defense mechanism created by a dinoflagellate called Noctaluca and only develops in a bloom this big when the conditions are right. The reason it gives off light is because when the organism is disturbed, a predator may be attacking it, so it glows to illuminate it’s predator, so it’s predator’s predator will eat the dinoflagellate’s predator. Get it?

I was able to snorkel in a kelp forest and see the rocks of the intertidal in a whole new way. It’s quite frightening actually. Because the water is so murky with phytoplankton and zooplankton right now, visibility is impossible until something is about a foot away from your face. Imagine seeing a giant bed of kelp like a big black wall in front of you when you’re swimming face first in the ocean. I had a couple real panic attacks in the middle of the giant kelp beds before I remembered that it’s just a silly seaweed called macrocystis pyrifera. Credit is owed to my bffs that took my hands and helped me get out of there before I cried. As much as I am fascinated and amazed by seaweed, swimming in it has always been a fear of mine, so it was a real feat when I was able to splash around in it (and even wrap myself up in it and pretend I was a sea otter). We also got to see a longhouse that is untouched by anything touristy. Some of the logs holding he ancient beams up are 5000 years old! We got a casual tour from a Huu-ay-aht woman who is actually a hereditary princess. We trekked over muddy trails to get to an amazing beach with giant seastacks where so many vibrant stories have been told, of which most I hope were heard and passed on. I wish I could sit and bask in the life that existed there, well before Canada was a twinkle in any settler’s eye. And yet, I’m pleased that it has been left untouched, so that what was born from nature can die as nature – that’s how it was explained to us.

I was blessed with the presence of my family here for a night. I got to show them my temporary home and they got to gawk at the most beautiful nature available on this side of the world – in my opinion. I’ve been able to see how locals live here year round, with their own vegetable gardens and chicken coops. I am thinking very seriously about cutting beef, pork and chicken out of my diet – because it is a lot easier on the Earth and its resources. I have a lot more to research on the topic. The only thing I’m struggling with here is the ability to rest. Pretty ironic that it requires effort to rest, eh? It’s hard to focus on God or myself when I have so many great distractions to be busy with, and so little time that isn’t built in for field studies, lectures or homework.
And if I’m being really honest, I miss caring about my faith. It’s so hard to maintain a relationship with a) someone you can’t see, b) something that all the people you see every day don’t care about. I miss God, even though I’m aware, mostly, that he’s never left. It’s crazy for me to be in a place where creation is so complex and perfectly designed, and not know how to be thankful for it. I’m working on it.
Other than that, life is swell.
Pun most certainly intended.

Holding a chicken! So awesome!
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Salal and mossy cedars
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My friend Beni in his kayak. Average landscape…
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The Pacific Rim National Park landscape from Cox Bay

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Cheers to Bamfield and ceaseless sunshine
Beautiful sunset, beautiful friend
Beautiful sunset and then there’s Julia!

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