Beginning with an early(ish) breakfast at 7:30am, and then a short drive to the ferry station, this action-packed day was high energy from the start. This morning we had the unique pleasure of touring the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology, HIMB, on Moku o Loʻe in Kaneohe, Oahu. We got there by ferry, which was a blissful and fun experience to begin with! At Moku o Loʻe, which is notably named after an Indigenous Hawaiian woman known for her expertise on the marine ecology of the island, we had the opportunity to learn about the many different research initiatives happening there – some of which are global collaborations. We spoke with several different lab managers, post-docs, and other technicians about their research endeavors; which ranged from reef restoration projects using three-dimensional printing, to the general studying of coral nutrient pollution thresholds, temperature thresholds, and to the ongoing ecological studies of Hawaiian coral reefs. The tour was inspiring to many of us as we consider our lives post undergrad. Ergo, after the tour of HIMB, which ended around 12, Jeff (Shout out, Jeff!) provided us with a curbside lunch consisting of sandwiches and spring rolls (for the gluten free folk) which were AMAZING. Then, taking our lunch to go, we sped off in the van to boat orientation!
Coral fragments being tested for species-specific nutrient pollution thresholds
Boat orientation was an exhilarating moment for everybody involved. It felt as if the trip had really begun to come together. We got to meet the crew, many who have arrived in Honolulu from Tahiti and have since been working tirelessly to prepare for our voyage across the archipelago. What they do is truly amazing, and beyond inspiring. During boat orientation we received a tour of the SSV Robert C. Seamans and began to learn about all of the (many, many) technicalities required to sail such an extraordinary research vessel! There was some extra cloud cover today, that in turn yielded high humidity and some sun showers, but vibes were high regardless. I think that being able to finally see the ship has allowed for the realization of our adventure to finally sink in!
After the orientation/tour of Seamans, we had a quick meeting about our research projects, and some downtime to really process what the next few weeks of our lives will entail. Then, we ended the day with a crew cookout, where we truly got to meet the incredible people who make our trip possible. We (Jeff) grilled burgers, played ping pong and some intense games of Ninja! Overall, I can safely say that today was one of the most inspiring days yet. I am so excited for the next part of this trip, and know that the memories made will last a lifetime.
Hi to all of my family from New York, if you are reading this (which you probably aren’t), I love you guys and see you soon! Shout out to my dog Izzy, and to my friends: Sophie, Meg, Josie, Abby, Sophia, and Reagan. Love you all so so much!
Samantha Roberts, Fordham University
Make-shift clay coral created by a three-dimensional printer