Saturday, August 2, 2008

Thankful for so much!

I returned to San Pedro this evening. It is good to be home. Really good to be home since I am not feeling all that great.

I was in another location Tuesday through Thursday doing fish surveys. Alicia (the manager of Bacalar Chico) and I went over to "assist" with the fish and coral surveys. By the way, Alicia is able to complete 5 coral surveys and I can complete my 8 fish on two tanks of air.

Alicia showed on Monday to get started. I had to wait until Tuesday morning because of meetings all day Monday. Before I left I had to stop by an office here to pick up blank forms for us to use for the surveys. This should have foreshadowed what was to come, but I was hopeful.

I arrive at my destination early Tuesday morning- 8:30, groggy but ready to work. Hum. Nothing, let me repeat, NOTHING was ready to go. The person "in charge" who we will call IM* had shown up minutes before I had. No one had gone for tanks. IM was also in shock that it would take 2 tanks for each of us to complete our segments of the surveys. The gear wasn't in the boat ready to go. In fact, the surveys I had brought were the only ones that we had with nothing on them. It is a rather well known fact, even outside of the SCUBA diving community, that paper disintegrates in water. Unfortunately IM, a supposed biologist, hadn't figured it out. Well, that among other things. Unfortunately IM also had not read the updated (2006) manual for conducting the surveys and was trying to tell us how to do the surveys from the 2002 manual. IM had not been in the water to dive much less conduct any surveys for 2 years. So back to the paper... In my efforts to learn the fish on the survey- a total of 83 fish in all of their color variations- I had recreated the fish survey on Excel. Alicia had already warned me so I had already sent a copy via email. With no surveys, no hope of waterproof paper, and flat out refusal to write the results of 8 transects, per site, on a piece of white plastic board we printed the surveys on plain paper. At 3pm we set out for the first site. (Hours ago we had determined that this person was just a completely and utter Incompetent Manager*.) Anger had set in. We were ready to vote IM off the island.

Never, ever have I appreciated Alicia's completely different work ethic and ability to plan as much has I have this week.

Wednesday you would think would go better. It didn't. In fact it was almost worst because everything was set from the day before. IM's employees just needed to transcribe the data we had collected. IM felt that we needed to do this but we stood our ground. Well that is except for my disintegrated paper that I had to interpret the tares. Because of the improper equipment it was a huge push to get in all of the fish surveys on Tuesday. Today Alicia and I assigned IM 2 fish surveys and 1 coral. IM wined. LITERALLY wined! We would have happily left her on shore. Probably should have. Anyway. Again we set out late and were utterly frustrated. As we head out to the Blue we know it is too rough but IM wasn't paying attention, we wait for IM to declare this. IM directs the captain to the location of our dive spot, the one that is supposed to be in the Blue. One of the problems is we are not clear of the reef. If we had continued on the route IM had suggested then we would have really been in trouble. The closer we got to the rolling waves in the channel the more we anticipated the order to turn around. The weather is getting worse and we can't go out in the Blue. The order never comes so Alicia does tell the captain to turn around. We finally find a spot to survey, get set up, complete the surveys, and dread Thursday.

Thursday. Most people that have been paying attention would have caught on would have known we weren't going to transcribe the data just because IM's employees didn't want to do anything. Aggravated beyond sitting quietly and playing nice I tell IM that we are here doing her a favor and IM needs to pick up the slack. IM counters that if you are going to do someone a favor you should do it right. I left. I packed my bag. Talked to Alicia about it but she talked me out of it. Again it was a late start. There was no way for us to complete all of the sites. I had appointments the next day in Belize City that I couldn't miss. Also found out before leaving for this site that IM does not know fish. So, I refuse to worry about her sloppy data. Here comes the sick part. As soon as I got in the water Thursday I felt sick. I continued my dive and completed my 6 surveys despite the uneasy feeling in my stomach. We got back to shore and I felt awful. As my body rid itself of the tacos and hand full of cereal I had for breakfast all kind of ideas were floating in my head. Diving injuries, bubbles in my blood, rashes on my skin, the bends. (or bad tacos). I dove within the limits, I did my safety stops, for heaven's sake for 2 days we hadn't been in water over 20 feet deep. Still nagging, still wondering, I wanted to be sure. Maybe seasickness? I tried to eat. Bad idea. Smells from the kitchen, from guests with cigarettes, ugh! Two bites of baked potato and I was on the run. So we left, talked to IM and the Big Boss in Belize, I ran to catch the boat home. If worse came to worse there was a decompression chamber there. I went to see the doctor. Got a shot for the nausea-OUCH!, sea sickness pills, and went home. Aching all over I tossed and turned until the sun was rising.

Yea. It is Friday and I have to head to Belize for an appointment. I decide to stop on IM's island, pick up my computer, and visit with Nadine (the newest nationalized Belizean Citizen in the country!). As the boat pulls up to the dock my head is in another orbit of its own. I practically crawled off of the boat and on the dock. I had a nice visit, despite the whole not feeling well. I figured that there was no way I would last at least two times longer on a boat so I called our nurse, she scheduled a flight, and I was on my way to Belize.

I had good appointments and good visits with friends, but I am oh so very glad to be sleeping in my bed in less than 10 minutes from now. I am so very thankful for my friends who take care of me when family can't, not having a serious condition to deal with constantly, and to never have to worry about whether or not I can see a doctor. I guess that my body fighting a little food poisoning every once and a while will help me remember how fortunate I truly am.

And one last thing that I am most thankful for this week- working with someone who gets it- Alicia, you are great!

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Dang it girl! Feel better!