Is that a bird? Or a plane? No it is a flying fish!

October 19, 2023

Author: Sophie Strock, Eckerd College

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Sophie at the helm

Ship's Log

Date: 10/19/2023Time: 16:35Location: 13˚ 25.54’ S 176˚ 20.10’ EWeather: Winds from the East, 31 Celsius, clear skies

Hi Everyone! This is Sophie once again. I am a student from Eckerd Collegestudying marine biology and I am from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. A few daysago we left Tuvalu and I am very grateful that we got to experience such anunique country that only a few people in this world get to visit. In acourse of a day I was able to walk around most of the island and see bothcoasts. While it is a small and remote island, it is still very lively andbusy. This country is threatened by rising ocean levels and in the next 50years, the island itself may not exist. As I was walking around, it washard to conceptualize this fact with the bustling streets, the cheerfulschools, and of course the beautiful landscapes. My favorite site of theday was watching a bunch of kids and families playing on the tarmac atsunset. Only a few flights come in and out of the country during the month,so it tends to be free range. It is hard to imagine what the people of thiscountry will do next couple of decades. Will they stay and try to fight therising sea levels or will they have to leave their home? Something that Ihave learned from this trip so far is that the ocean is a beautiful beastthat can offer so much, but it can also take back everything that belongsto it in a heartbeat.While standing lookout, sometimes things can get boring, but if you arelucky, you may be surprised by the sight of flying fish! Some of myfavorite memories have involved watching flying fish glaze over the waves.The first time I went shark diving, I watched dozens of flying fish passover me right before I slipped into the water. At my home on the cape, mybrother and I were swimming out to the docks on a wavy day when witnessed asingular flying fish leap out of the water. And I now have the gift ofwatching these fish sail over the ocean almost every day. If you have neverheard of these mythical fish, I am here to inform you. Flying fish(Exocoetidaes) earned their name from their ability to emerge from theocean and glide above the waves on wing-like pectoral fins for distances upto 300 meters. They are pelagic and prefer deep-water areas, where theyfeed on plankton and their eggs have special filaments that stick tofloating plant matter until hatching. They are truly special creatures.Fun Fact: Sometimes they fly into our ventilation system (aka tubas) andbecome mummified.To my family and friends: Happy Birthday to Mimi, Alex, Anna, Emily, andWillow! Missing the comfy Strock household! Can’t wait to see the SkordasFamily in a few weeks! And also missing my Eckerd fam. Love you all!

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