I’ve had a busy week so far, with tonnes of dives and new projects started, I’ve learnt lots already.
There are two major projects that I have been enlisted on so far, Sponge searching and seagrass surveys. ExAqua, a German organisation temporarily basing itself at Reef Doctor, has been working on sponge and algae farms. I got to help out on finding specific sponges for their farm, from snorkelling in knee-high, low tide water, to a double dive going down to 18 meters, I’ve done a lot! It’s really interesting learning the different types of sponges and how to tell apart the different species.
Over the past couple of days, Reef Doctor has been working on a new project, surveying the local seagrass beds. Its is part of a worldwide survey being undertaken by the Smithsonian Institute in order to calculate seagrass variety, density and size. Seagrass itself is fascinating, being one of the major sources of CO2 storage, equal to the Amazon rainforest! I’ve started memorising the different types of seagrass, and there is plenty floating around in the ocean to pick out for a quick pop quiz! I’m looking forward to the upcoming workshops on the macro-algae and other animal life that lives in the seagrass beds.
On that subject, I have had my first few fish and benthic identification classes and point outs- dives where fish are pointed out and we have to point at the correct name listed on the dive slate. They are really hard to remember, but it is becoming easier to remember patterns and colours, but along with learning all of the coral and invertebrates, it is hard work!
This weekend, a cyclone passed over meaning that its rained all weekend, the majority of volunteers, and staff- including me- went to the nearby town of Mangily to have sushi, a dish served in one of the hotel restaurants if the staff are given enough warning. When I had finished eating I headed back to camp with those who weren't staying in Mangily for the night and spent a relaxing evening watching downloaded movies from my laptop, listening to the rain patter on my, surprisingly waterproof hut roof!
Next week; Many more dives and much more to learn, possibly a rant about fish, but we’ll see how much I will have learnt!