Our work on Appledore is simultaneously winding down and revving up as we complete our data collection and begin analyzing the fruits of our labors. We have been enjoying pleasant, if unusual, weather (sunny, humid days followed by thunderstorms or sun showers in the evenings) but unfavorable tides that have been preventing us from completing our collection of photoplot data from the lower intertidal. This part of the intertidal is often called the red zone, since it is characteristically filled with short, scrubby seaweeds from the red algae family Rhodophyta.
This morning we achieved a partial victory; we were able to track down the locations of four out of five of our final plots. However, the constant wave action at the exposed side of the island soaked us all and made it almost impossible to find the elusive marker bolts among the thick mats of mussels and mastocarpus. More than once, we were unable to find the bolts themselves, even with the help of a metal detector. Even on a calm, pleasant day like this one, waves rush in and out of the rocks once every four to five seconds… so us interns find ourselves behaving like some kind of new huge, awkward shorebird, first bending down to feel desperately among the seaweed for a bolt, then jumping up again to avoid the next wave. In the end, I decided to just sit down and let it all wash over me. Literally.