Aaron shows off his technique for how to escape from shallow coral spots.
A picture by Ben of one of our new friends, Penny.
Today, I woke up 10 minutes before sunrise and dashed on over to the house at the top of the hill, Manihi, for some Turkish ice coffee Rosie “Beans” Caouette kindly left in the fridge the night before. We watched the last pink streaks fade into a beautiful blue sky, preparing for the double snorkel sessions ahead of us.
Down by the water, we had our usual cereal, bread, yogurt, and fruit for breakfast, along with a fun little rapid covid test party for precautionary reasons (thanks J for the testing tunes). PS: we were all negative.
Evan plays guitar to a crab resting on the rocks below.
After a short Jeff “Schelly” brief, we made our way to our first reef survey site, a Marine Protected Area (MPA) called Nuarei. This was our first barrier reef location (super exciting!!) and we quickly geared up and jumped into the crystal blue water.
Our second survey spot was called Temae, not an MPA, but just a quick stroll down the beach.
An abundance of Christmas tree worms, multicolored wrasses, curvy clams, and many other marvelous creatures were accounted for. After successfully toasting in the sun, we returned to Gump Marine Station where some took a dip off the dock followed by an afternoon shower to rinse the salt away.
Adele, Rea, Shay, Aaron, Ben, Evan, Una, and I made our way to the bungaLAB for pH and salinity testing and phytoplankton and bacteria filtration from the many water samples taken at both sites earlier in the day.
For dinner, we feasted on venison (we think, most likely goat!), lentils, fresh salad and bread pudding, then were informed on what was up next for the coming days. (Stay tuned for more)
Currently, many of us are at the Totara house, lathering ourselves up in aloe before bed.