Thursday- De-gas day.

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July 15th 2010
Published: July 15th 2010
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Claire: Yesterday we experienced our first party night. The theme: Hoga togas. Sarongs were used in many interesting ways to appear toga-like. Even palm trees were plaited and used as arm bracelets, belts and hair ties. We had a big feast outside, followed by party games that the locals came up with. The guys had to climb under the table without touching the floor and pull themselves up again, (the tables are quite long and quite wide). There was also a flexibility game with a pole, and finally a best-dressed catwalk. After the feast we all walked the grueling 20m walk to the beach and played tug-of-war and other games on the beach, and ended with a beach bonfire and dancing in our lodge.

Today has been very relaxing; I think most people were getting over hangovers! It poured this morning but we were lucky to have a very hot sunny day, and made the most of it by sunbathing at Bounty Bay. Emily (a girl from Royal Holloway, that’s made friends with us) and I managed to go for a short snorkel, (I saw my first Crown of Thorns starfish!)

I’ve been working, (shocking I know). But I’ve altered my project slightly, and am now reading up on coral bleaching, 5 papers in 2 days! So will be meeting with the Head of Science here tomorrow, so I can start collecting my data.

Finally from me… We had a visitor to our hut last night; needless to say we’re one oreo down and half a soap gone. I managed to frighten the rat/mouse/shrew/ rodent-type thing when I shocked it with my torch! Nice to know we’re caring for the local residents by providing shelter.

Ellie: Today Katie and I snorkeled out into the lagoon with another student, called Ben, and mapped out our study sites. What were originally going to be 100m by 100m squares are now roughly 10m by 10m. I wonder what our supervisor back at home will make of that… We vaguely know what we’re doing! The water in the lagoon is beautifully clear, with lots to see in it. Crown of Thorns starfish are corallivores, they munch away at the coral, and are a massive problem. The scientists can’t work out whether their worldwide success is the result of lack of predators, or anthropogenic factors that make the larvae better able to survive.

Another bout of rain has just swept across the island. It makes an incredible noise, bouncing off leaves and corrugated iron roofs.

I thought Claire had eaten all our food, but apparently there was a mouse in the room. I slept through her little encounter.

Tomorrow we have a test on fish families. There are 42 (latin) names for us to match to fishes. It turns out that my project requires me to identify fish to species level. I know no fish species. As of tomorrow that hopefully won’t be a problem, although Hoga is one of the most diverse coral reefs in the world, so I’ll have my work cut out I suppose.


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