De-Gas Day 2

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July 22nd 2010
Published: July 22nd 2010
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Elly: Right. My fish have gone belly up. Fortunately, a knight in shining armour, in the form of Richard Barnes, of “Invertebrate Zoology” fame, arrived on Hoga yesterday. He’s being incredibly kind and has allowed me to write up some of the data he finds here, provided I help him identify things like worms and snails. There’s a slight catch in that he doesn’t know whether he’ll find anything at all, but given his track record I’m fairly sure his instincts will lead us to some interesting information. Both Claire and I have changed our projects while out here!

On Sunday, one of the island’s boats sunk. It was carrying a group of boys from Millfield School, all so bulky (with muscle and SCUBA gear) that they looked about 22. We’re not surprised they tipped her over! The dive staff weren’t impressed but it was quite an event.

Last night was our second party night, and today we’ve been on the beach. Claire has tanned rather nicely. I’m way behind everyone which is disappointing. Tonight we’re all going for a meal Hoga’s only restaurant where we’ll be fed……MEAT! Apparently there’s going to be chicken!

Claire: A couple of days ago now, after a dive, I was swimming with a few others that had surfaced early around the boat, and we were just messing around, when a MASSIVE fin surfaced 10m or so away. Needless to say there was a scramble, (and a survival of the fittest) race back to the boat. The fin hung round then sunk, in a Jaws -like fashion. Our initial reaction had definitely not been to stick our heads under the water to identify what sort of creature possessed such a large fin… (Which had been the reaction of the Scientists, later when recalling our story). After a minute or so of panicking and describing the sharks that swim in these waters, the local boatmen started laughing hysterically and explained to us that in fact it was just a (very) large solitary tuna…

So the fear of Jaws lives on, 10 years after watching the film. Thanks dad.

My coral project is now going well. I have a sense or relief that I’m not chasing fish around the reef and trying to capture snap shots of darting fins. I have started to love coral, the diversity here is incredible, and every day I find a new species. So far I’ve accounted for 60 of the 262 endemic species. Not many but hard enough to learn names for. My project data collection means taking roughly 150 of coral at each quadrat that I repeat twice a day, so only 300 photos to go through and identify in the evening. Who said I don’t work hard enough? Michael and I are also setting floatation devices at both sites, so we have a timescale of photos of coral bleaching. It’s a lot to do, but I think it will lead to a very promising project!


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