When our local paper asked for wacky, wonderful job stories, I had to share mine:
“Can I squirt him in the eye?” I felt weird being so blunt with the brave little geek in braids, but having graduated from high school in the seventies, I knew I’d feel weirder negotiating with five teens over shark tagging tasks. So when the grad students got our shark situated under their bodies, I got to test his reflex, and his eye membrane nictated nicely which meant that he wasn’t too stressed. On the next round I clipped a bit of tissue off another shark’s fin for DNA testing. A few days later I played games with a blindfolded dolphin, and the day after that, I served as a dolphin pool toy. Ahhhh!
In June, I piled on three coats to wend my way through freezing drizzle to a sod Viking lodge in Newfoundland and talk caribou stew with a Norse woman. Some kilometers south, I walked on the earth’s mantle, and in Nova Scotia I rafted the mud-red bore of world’s highest tide. Last fall I used a three foot strip of baleen and a rubbery sand eel to educate boatloads of whale watchers then recorded the number and type of whale body parts we spotted.
Between trips, I hand out crickets to people who want to get squirted by archer fish at the Denver aquarium. Then I urge visitors to feel sharks teeth or get hugged by sea urchins. Next trip to the coast, I hope to get rescued by the Coast Guard.
What’s my job? I’m researching a Sea Secrets lecture series, guide book, and Breathtake Byways blog for sea lovers and cruise ship passengers. I love to share it. Invite me to talk to your group about sea creatures. [email protected]