This year’s team was incredible, one of the best groups we have ever had; hard working, eager and patient when we had to make last minute changes, when equipment failed or when any of the 2001 things that can happen, do happen.
With a Saturday arrival on October 1st, we spent the weekend on getting over jet lag and familiarization with the survey techniques and protocols. Every year we “tweak” what we are doing to try to be more efficient, more accurate, and to collect better data. This year, thanks to suggestions from last year’s crew (George are you reading this?), we had our invertebrate team (the folks hunting sea cucumbers and sea stars) and the person recording coral disease, bleaching and damage take photos instead of just recording information on a slate.
Each evening the team reviewed that day’s photos, doing identification and discussing the possible causes of coral damage. This method was so successful that I think it would be worthwhile to do some fund raising to ensure that all future team members have digital cameras.
Monday was our first day in the water and a shake down in every sense. We also had three other divers with us who wanted to come along and see what all the fuss was about. And we survived! We collected good data! And there was just a little snickering from our “observers”.
Over the next 10 days we collected data at 7 sites. And that’s not all we did.
- We helped to drill a new mooring site.
- We found three mooring pins that had been lost during the destructive 2008 king tides, and
- we replaced or installed 7 mooring lines and buoys.
We were a *very* busy team.
Now I just need to complete the analysis of the mountain of data sitting on my desk ( hopefully in the next month) and then I should have current information available on the state of our extraordinary reef to share with you.
ps – these photos were taken by the team members, please ask before you use them.