So where exactly do I work? The Naos Marine Lab is located off the Amador Causeway on an island called Isla Naos. The Causeway connects several small islands. From the front of the building, you can see a spectacular view of the city's skyline along with the Bay of Panama and several boats. For some reason, I recently noticed how pretty it is. Maybe it was the color that the rain clouds made over the view. On nice days, the Causeway is filled with people riding their bikes, jogging, fishing or just taking a leisurely stroll. It's pretty cool. It's a nice little drive to have to take to work. You can read more about the Lab here.
Punta Culebra juts out behind the Lab and houses the Punta Culebra Nature Center. It was founded by The Smithsonian. Read more about it here.
I finally ventured out to far places--the Lab's backyard--to a beautiful beach setting. I was actually stunned to see it. I had no idea that such a lovely landscape exists so close to work.
I love exhibits like this. It's so fun to see wildlife to scale. I'm not sure how many people realize how big groupers are. Even when you see these fish in aquariums, it's still really hard to get a sense of their scale unless you're right next to them. Somehow, for me, it makes the animal more real or something.
Silly little sea turtle. I heart them.
I don't think I'll ever grow out of the desire to touch things. I ALWAYS get sooo excited when I get to hold and touch the animals. Again, I think it has something to do with feeling like it's a reality. All of a sudden we are in the same world. I love the expression on this little girl's face.
So funny...when I took these pictures showing the underside of the sea stars, I imagined a human stomach with a mouth and five human arms growin out of it. I think I'll have to draw that.
EEW! Sea cucumbers are so weird. They feel amazing, though. You might think that they're really slimy or something, but they're actually super soft and pillowy.
It was sort of strange to see this next to the lobster exhibit, but it's beautiful none the less. I wonder if they forgot to discard it or if it's actually part of the exhibit. Maybe it's to show the exoskeleton or something. Who knows.
The day that I visited Punta Culebra, my friend Andrew Sellers was giving a talk about lion fish. Lion fish are invasive species that are rapidly growing in population within the Caribbean and western Atlantic. He is studying the effects lion fish have on an ecosystem where they didn't use to exist.
Lion fish eat little crabs and I went out with him to collect some. They're tiny, move really quickly and are difficult to catch. Basically, you upturn a rock and grab as fast as you can. It was really fun. It brings me back to a time when I used to play with my tonka trucks in the mud without a shirt because I wanted to be like my dad working outside in the hot summer days.
FEED ME!!! I like this crazy giant seed. Oh the tropics have such strange things living in it.