Our First Reef Survey (kind of)

May 29, 2023

Siobhan Morris, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Seeing turtles while practicing our survey methods

Ship's Log

Honolulu, Oahu

Very hot and sunny with slight scattered clouds

All blogs from S-309

This morning we shared a delicious breakfast outside by the waterfront where we saw a rainbow on the horizon! Breakfasts at HPU’s dining hall have been amazing with different foods offered each day. Today we had breakfast sandwiches on english muffins with a fried egg, cheese, and bacon, banana-stuffed french toast, guava juice and fresh fruit. Today was our first ever reef survey day, so we loaded the van with our quadrats for taking square images of the sea floor, dive slates (basically underwater clipboards with an attached pencil that you can write on) for recording vertebrate and invertebrate species, bottles for collecting seawater samples for chemical analysis, all of our snorkel gear, lunches, and plenty of snacks in typical SEA fashion. 

A beautiful rainbow view during breakfast

We arrived at Makaha Bay on the West coast of Oahu around 8:30 am. However, once we stepped out onto the beach we noticed the waves were fairly tall, with a strong current coming in from the left. After circling up and talking about the unfavorable survey conditions, we decided that we wouldn’t be able to do our reef survey. Instead, we used the time and our equipment to move to an area with less of a rip current to test out duck diving (diving under the water with your snorkel fully submerged) with the quadrant, which we were going to have to do as a part of our reef survey. The quadrant is a PVC tower structure with a small square at the top, branching into a larger 0.5m x 0.5m square at the bottom. Attached to the top smaller square is an underwater camera, intended to take a picture of the larger PVC square and the section of sea floor contained within it. Managing the equipment in the water was a lot harder than I expected, but the rest of the group was doing very well with the process and capturing great images!

After we practiced in the water we hung out on the beach for a while, eating lunch and enjoying each others’ company. A mother and baby sea turtle even made an appearance, swimming very close to the shore and poking their heads up every once and a while. After we packed up the van and headed home to HPU to shower before our nautical science course with Captain Rebecca. We watched a video and read two interesting articles on leadership. We broke up into groups and then came back together to discuss the importance of the articles and how they can be applied to life on the boat. Afterwards we did an activity to identify our leadership styles, and did a team building and communication activity. We then broke up into our coral reef research groups to work on our papers, and Jeff picked up a delicious dinner for us to enjoy.

Love you mom, dad, Zach, and Bronwyn back home in Falmouth, MA!

Siobhan Morris, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Our new classmate Chauncey the cat

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One Comment

  1. Siobhan's mom June 1, 2023 at 16:38 - Reply

    It looks and sounds like y’all are having a fabulous time! Stay safe, learn things, and have fun! We love you and miss you, Siobhan!! from Mom, Dad, Zach, Bronwyn, and Merlin (of course!)

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