Oh yeah! The team is back together again. J and Mikki have arrived after minor travel issues. Great to welcome them back.
As the sun peaked at the horizon and rose above the mountains, the inhabitants of totara (one of the student bungalows) were engulfed in the sound of gospel music pumping through their various speakers. To the delight of their housemates, Ben “Bin” Porter and Aaron “Mimi” Blust, awoke them all to a beautifully written song called “Rise and Shine (You’ve Got Your Glory, Glory)”. I know I’ll be adding this bop to my playlist!
Following our gorgeous sunrise viewing we gathered ourselves for our trek down the mountainous hill for breakfast. But before eating, Rosie “Chad” Chater (amongst others) laid eyes on a tigerfish! After this incredibly amusing sight we scrumped on a fabulous selection of yogurt, oats, bread, a wide variety of jams, and fresh pineapple! Following the indulgence in our fantabulous breakfast we were briefed by the Schelly. Schelly, a wonderful man who is from the same part of Ohio as me (what are the odds!?!), explained our schedule for the day – first stop a field trip to the Lycée Agricole Opunohu (agricultural training school).
Here we experienced the beautiful sights of Mo’orea picking up fallen flowers along the way. After our hot, humid, and mildly slimy trail walk we stopped at the café stand to buy some ice cream! I tried three flavors including mango, papaya, and soursop; other flavors included coconut, chocolate, banana, and guava.
In the wake of our sweet-filled adventures we retreated back to the Gump Marine station for a delicious lunch of mashed potatoes, veggies with chickpeas, chicken, meatballs, and grapefruit for dessert! After lunch we were given the rundown for the day's reef survey and with our snorkel gear in hand we ventured to a local beach. We saw some incredibly diverse species along the way. Flora “Flob” Kerner and Adele “Jelly” Carcano saw a flourishing flounder and a benevolent brain coral.
After our snorkel sesh, me and my snorkeling buddy Lila “Leela” Olson helped out with the environmental science by testing the visibility within the water using a secchi disk. A few other pairs helped to collect water samples through capping jars and a net! Our snorkel sesh resulted in some brutal burns but thankfully the science crew got a nice drive up the hill to the bungolab! Here we tested the samples of bacteria, phytoplankton, and the pH of the water.
When the science was done we headed to our bungalows to relax before heading back down to homebase to write in our journals, take aesthetic pictures, and watch as Evan “The Survivor” Auger watched over the lagoon for sharks and other feisty marine animals. Tonight's golden hour proved to be extraordinary for both photoshoots and sunkissed faces. Dinner was served tonight not on a golden platter but rather something more exceptional: a cardboard box. That’s right, we had pizza followed by a large tub of taro ice cream.
Our night wouldn’t be complete without a dip in the ocean and so we walked to the dock at the end of Gump station. Here all but one of us chickened out, for we feared the shark infested waters. Rea “Rea” Basenese was our brave soldier as she dove into the chilled water of the night, truly a hero dressed in a jolyn purple one piece. As the stars wished us goodnight we retreated back to our beds where we relaxed from the long day behind us.