It’s six a.m. and we’re off. Despite it being morning, the moon is still shining brightly. In about an hour the sun will illuminate the sky, and in another hour, we will be at our destination. The days are hard but don’t feel too long. Time passes through shared smiles, dolphin sightings, and bivalve naming. But after hours of closely examining shells it is easy to forget why we are down here in the first place. A hamster wheel mentality going from task to task without giving it too much thought is easy to get stuck in.
It wasn’t until one day we were swarmed by dolphins did my mentality shift. Dozens upon dozens of dolphins surrounded our boat. It felt like a scene from a movie. As they got closer to the boat we began to see that there was a dolphin with metal around its neck and another dolphin with a damaged fin. Despite feeling like we were far removed from reality that wasn’t exactly true. Seeing the dolphins released me from the mindless mentality I dwelled in. We weren’t here just to sort through shells. We were here to get data to establish a baseline for past marine environments in the area. Why? So, we could have something to compare current communities to. Remembering this gave me new motivation to push forward and finish our trip on a high note.