Barbados!

A Barbados Anole lizard.

After eight years at my current job, I’m moving to a new one this year (I’ll still be at the old one 20% for a while). Sometimes things just work out well, and this year I was lucky enough to be invited to an invitation-only workshop in Barbados, which, coincidentally, was scheduled for my last full-time week at my old job – what better way to spend my last week than at a workshop next to a tropical beach!

The workshop was designed with presentations in the morning and evening, but free time from 1-6pm, and was less than 50m from a beach with a nice shallow reef to snorkel on. Needless to say, everyone spent a lot of time in the water. The place wasn’t luxurious (no air conditioning in the shared rooms), but was set around a garden, with flowering trees, lizards and birds, and frogs singing and bats flying around after dark.

A Barbados Anole lizard.
A Barbados Anole lizard.
A Lesser Antillean Whistling Frog. Also known as the rum alarm since it seemed to start calling just when the rum got brought out.
A Lesser Antillean Whistling Frog. Also known as the rum alarm since it seemed to start calling just when the rum got brought out.

A small group of us also did some diving while we were there. The water was lovely and warm – 25 celcius at the surface, and the reef looked surprisingly healthy. We saw the usual tropical fish, lots of lobsters and crabs, and on night snorkels a couple of us caught sight of “The Thing”, a 4m long nocturnal segmented worm (no pictures of that, it hid again far too quickly when I shone a light on it).

The healthy-looking reef.
The healthy-looking reef.
A cute Burrfish checking us out!
A cute Burrfish checking us out!

A spotted Moray.
A spotted Moray.

The workshop was great, with a really interesting group of people, and lots of good talks. The location was great as well – a perfect way to celebrate my new job!

6 thoughts on “Barbados!”

  1. The workshop was on reinforcement learning and planning. They have one every year, but this is the first time I’ve ever been invited. McGill University in Montreal, Canada have a field research station there which gets used for all sorts of workshops organised by McGill staff.

    I should point out that I had to share a room with two other people, there was no air conditioning except in the lecture room, and between the large cockroaches, frogs singing all night, and mosquitoes, it certainly wasn’t a typical conference venue!

    Still, I hope they invite me again next year!

    Burrfish are related to puffer-fish, so I think they inflate if threatened, rather than having poisonous spines.

    1. Pufferfish are definitely to be avoided (unless in Japan, and then only when cooked by very experienced chefs)- the Burrfish is just best not stepped on, apparently!

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