Hi! My name is Mira, I go to Carleton College. Today we are preparing to get underway, and I am very excited to start our voyage! We have spent the last few days docked in Nadi, where we have gotten to explore a little. We went snorkeling on Sunday and then explored a fruit market in Nadi on Monday. We also checked out a handicraft market and broke out the microscope on the boat to check if some pearls were real. As I write this, we are milking coconuts we got at the fruit market to make coconut milk. It was delicious.
This morning we got some great news that our sampling permits for Fiji, Tuvalu, and New Zealand all came in. These are important because they give us permission to collect data across our cruise track. We had to apply for permission because each coastal nation has an exclusive economic zone or EEZ. An EEZ extends 200 nautical miles outside of the territorial sea, which is 12 nautical miles off the coast of the nation. Under international law, a nation with an EEZ has sovereign rights for exploration, use and management of natural resources of the seabed, subsoil, and waters. Nations with EEZs also have jurisdiction over the establishment of artificial islands and structures, management of marine scientific research, and the protection of the marine environment. To protect the marine environment, nations set up marine protected areas often guided by the International Union for Conservation of Natural Global Conservation Standards. MPAs vary from site to site and can be no take areas, which restrict collecting or fishing to protect or sustain certain populations or can be multiple use areas which allow but regulate fishing, industrial use, and recreation. Many MPA agencies also partner with the Marine Protected Area Agency Partnership which provides a place for international exchange of ideas and cooperation between nations. We are all very excited to start sailing! The plan right now is to head North to Tuvalu, then turn around and come back down towards New Zealand. With our new permits we can now sample across the whole track and be able to sample within the EEZs of Fiji, New Zealand, and Tuvalu! While I am very excited to get moving and be able to start our data collection, I am also realizing as we prepare to leave that this is the start of 6 weeks completely disconnected. These blogs connect us to the rest of the world, but we are still on our own for the next while. I look forward to having no outside distractions and being able to focus solely on the present. See you all in six weeks! Mira