Finally! My Head is Above Water!

I mean that literally, the last couple of months have been frantically busy.

The University of Washington held their second Kosrae Island Exploratory Seminar this year with Kosrae Village as their home base. The class, an absolutely wonderful group of people, was here from the second half of August through most of September.

This Saturday we just said goodbye to the 2011 coral monitoring team who have been here since the first of October. And since I work with the reef surveys my head has really been underwater for the past two weeks.

Oh yeah, tucked in the middle I had a quick trip to Pohnpei for a FSM Association of Chambers of Commerce board meeting and Bruce has gone to Guam for the Guam Micronesia Island Fair (GMIF) and travel fairs on the Guam Navy and Air Force bases this weekend. After GMIF he travels to the States for DEMA and to visit family.

Now, I *finally* have a chance to tell you about this year’s University of Washington Exploratory Seminar and my pet project, our ongoing reef inventories. Here is a link to the post about the Exploratory Seminar and the link to the reef survey post.

Cheers,
Katrina

 
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2011 Coral Monitoring or Reef Keepers R Us

2011 Coral Monitoring Volunteers

Donna, Gale, Steve and Dave


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.





Hunting Invertebrates, Kosrae Village Coral Monitoring

Hunting the Wiley Invertebrates,

Measuring Visibility, Kosrae Village Coral Monitoring

Measuring Visibility

Laying Out the Transect Line, Kosrae Village Coral Monitoring

Laying Out the Transect Line

Recording Coral Damage, Kosrae Village Coral Monitoring

Recording Coral Damage

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 Morning Start, Kosrae Village Coral Monitoring

Monday Morning Start


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.

    Drilling a New Mooring, Kosrae Village Coral Monitoring

    Drilling a New Mooring

    Checking a Mooring Buoy, Kosrae Village Coral Monitoring

    Checking a Mooring Buoy, Kosrae Village

    End of the Day, Kosrae Village Coral Monitoring

    Another Site Completed!

















    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.

    Kosrae Island, Micronesia

    Kosrae Island, Micronesia

    Utwe Village, Kosrae Micronesia

    Utwe Village, Kosrae Micronesia

    Local Canoe, Kosrae Micronesia

    Canoes are Still a Common Transportation Method on Kosrae

    Cheers!
    Katrina
    ps – these photos were taken by the team members, please ask before you use them.

     
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2011 University of Washington Exploratory Seminar

This year’s class was made up of a fantastic group of young women who had a very intense 4 weeks on Kosrae. The class focused on the relationships between Kosraean communities, culture and the local environment.

University of Washington Class and Host Parents

University of Washington Class and Host Parents

Most days the class was in the field, slogging through the mangroves (studying, replanting, and collecting propagules), snorkeling over coral reefs (learning to identify the common corals and reef creatures, collecting environmental data and assessing risks to the reefs), along with excursions to visit the Lelu Ruins, the clam farm and other field trips. Relax in the evenings and on weekends? Nope! Evenings and Saturdays they had classroom activities, learning the science behind what they were seeing in the field.

The class spanned the Kosrae Island Liberation holiday weekend which celebrates the end of World War II. The instructors, Julian Sachs and Neimah Ladd had organized a homestay for the students over that weekend and they had 3 days of total immersion in the Kosrae culture and community.

Here are some photos of the Liberation festivities and their underwater exploration.

Enjoy!
Katrina

 
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Yet Another Photographer **BIG Grin**

A week or so ago our extraordinary dive master Ben Frank and I joined Rob Myers (marine biologist, photographer and author of Micronesian Reef Fishes) for a day on the reef. We were diving at Nefalil and Hiroshi Point on the south side of Kosrae Island.

It was a really good day! Although conditions weren’t all that great with surge and a lot of particulate matter in the water, it was just the three of us in the water. This is pure luxury for photographers, since when we find a cooperative model we don’t want to travel on down the reef. As a result photographers tend to stay put, while many divers like to travel.

And, it turned out that Rob and I were not the only photographers in the water.

We needed to check out the camera that our good friend, Felicia Beardsley (La Verne University archaeologist) donated for our October coral monitoring project. Ben enthusiastically agreed to give it a try. His results are pretty amazing for a first time photographer.

The first photo of Ben taking photos is mine, the rest are his.

Ben Frank - Photographer

Ben Frank Kosrae Coral and Chromis

Ben Frank - Coral and Chromis

Ben Frank Kosrae Giant Clam

Ben Frank - Giant Clam Closeup

Ben Frank Kosrae Damsel Fish

Ben Frank - Damsel Fish

Ben Frank Kosrae Anemone Fish

Ben Frank - Anemone Fish

Ben Frank Kosrae Anemone Fish Cleaned

Ben Frank - Anemone Fish and Cleaner Wrasse

Ben Frank Kosrae Christmas Tree Worms

Ben Frank - Christmas Tree Worms

Ben Frank Gordon Joel

Ben Frank - Boat Captain, Gordon Joel

The underwater photographers reading this know that some of these images are difficult to get. I’d say that Ben has a real talent for photography as well as diving!

And the camera (a housed Intova point and shoot digital) will certainly do what we need for coral monitoring. — Thanks Felicia!

Cheers,
Katrina

PS For more information on Coral Monitoring or Felicia’s Kosrae Projects check our main Kosrae Village website.

 
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1000 Year Old Artifacts!!?

Wow!! Statues, an ancient “tok” (pounding stone) and a coral tray large enough to hold the Thanksgiving turkey!

Felicia Beardsley, an archaeologist from La Verne University in Southern California just finished what is becoming an annual archeological project on Kosrae.

This year she and her team of local archaeologists continued their work at the Menka site, in the mountainous interior at the southern end of the island. The Menka River drainage is marked in yellow on the map below.

Kosrae Island Menka Valley

Kosrae Island, Menka Valley marked in yellow

According to oral tradition, Menka was the site of the goddess Sinlaku and the discoveries this year and last seem to support this. Many compounds, walls and terraces were uncovered; including what appears to be a temple site.

Archaeologists generally believed that Micronesia did not have a tradition of carving, until Felicia started discovering statues and other pieces of worked stone here on Kosrae. The first statue was found a number of years ago at an ancient canoe landing in the Utwe Biosphere Reserve. This was followed by discovering many carvings of faces and animals, particularly mantas at the King’s Tomb site in Tofol.

This year added a new discovery, carved statues with clay eyes! Here is a photo of one of them. This statue is about 7 inches tall from it’s chin to the top of it’s topknot.

Kosrae Island, Menka Valley Ancient Statue

Menka Valley Ancient Statue

Another wonderful discovery is this ancient “tok” or pounding stone. This tok would probably have been used to pound seka roots to produce a mildly narcotic beverage for kings, priests and other ruling classes. Seka is made from the same pepper plant as the Fijian kava and the Pohnpeian sakau.

The tray the tok is resting on is made from a large piece of flat coral and was found at the same location.

Kosrae Island, Menka Valley Ancient Tok, Coral Tray

Menka Valley Ancient Tok & Coral Tray

These artifacts and others are now housed in the Kosrae Museum in Tofol.

For more information of Dr. Beardsley’s other projects on Kosrae, check these pages on the main Kosrae Village site:

Cheers!

Katrina

 
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Sydney Seminar Aftermath

Those of you following the blog probably know that Bruce was just in Sydney, Australia, representing Kosrae State at the Sydney Boat show and a pre-show seminar.

There must have been some reporters at the seminar, here is a link to a great news report, with photos!

Since it’s winter in the world down-under, Bruce was still shivering when he got home.

Enjoy!
Katrina

 
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Who are the Kosrae Village guests???

Bruce is off to Sydney, Australia to represent the island of Kosrae at the Sydney Boat Show. The FSM, Federated States of Micronesia or Micronesia for short, has a booth (or “stand” in Australian :)) with representatives from all four States. If you are in Sydney, be sure to drop in and see him.

Since the purpose of the booth is to encourage people to visit Micronesia, this got me thinking – just who are the people who visit Kosrae Island and Kosrae Village?

In general, I think that we see the best kind of traveler, sophisticated and passionate about life. This is partly because Kosrae is not the easiest place to get to. You have to work a little to figure it out, so we don’t see many people who come here by accident.

It might also be because in many ways visiting Kosrae is like stepping back in time, to a time and place where children are free to run and play all day without their parents worrying about what has happened to them. A rural place where everyone knows their neighbors, a quiet place where you can step off the modern merry-go-round and reconnect with yourself and the planet.

Even more specifically, who stays at Kosrae Village? As you can imagine this is a critically important question to us. After all, we want to invite people to stay at Kosrae Village who are like the guests that already love us.

So what makes us different from the mainstream properties on the island? The critical difference seems to be our unique integration with the cultural and natural heritage of the island. Visitors who want a deeper understanding and appreciation of the community and of the island will be delighted with their experience at Kosrae Village.

Now we just have to let those folks know that we are here. :) Hopefully Bruce will meet many of them at the Boat Show.

Cheers!
Katrina

 
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2011 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence!

Yippee!

I just received a message from TripAdvisor letting us know that Kosrae Village Ecolodge & Dive Resort has won a 2011 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence!

Here is what their message said:
“TripAdvisor awards this certificate to properties who consistently receive excellent ratings from our members. We think your 4.5 rating is something to be proud of and we hope you do too.”

Thanks to all of you that have left reviews. We will do our best to continue to earn your good opinion and to improve where we fall short.

Cheers!
Katrina

 
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Kosrae Special Election, Day Two

Day two of the Kosrae Special Election vote counting, now including the Hawaii and Guam results.

Here are the unofficial results for the top thee candidates. The results include the votes from Kosrae State, Pohnpei, absentee ballots, Hawaii, and Guam.

Candidate Total
Yoshiwo George => 1409
Rensley Sigrah => 885
Renster Andrew => 838

I will post the offical results on the Kosrae Village election page as soon as they are announced.

Cheers,
Katrina

 
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Kosrae’s July 1st Special Election

Many of you know that Alik Alik, Kosrae’s four year term Senator was recently re-elected as the FSM Vice President.

Yesterday was the special election to fill his seat. Here are the unofficial results from Kosrae State, Pohnpei and the absentee ballots. Hawaii and Guam will be counted today.

Candidate Total
Rensley Sigrah => 865
Yoshiwo George => 824
Renster Andrew => 757
Robert Weilbacher => 346
Fred N. Skilling => 80
Claude Phillip => 11
William Tosie => 10

I will update the results as soon as Hawaii and Guam are announced.

Cheers,
Katrina

 
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