May/June Program Week 3

This week was spent collecting fisheries data at Guinjata and Paindane, conducting humpback whale surveys, and carrying out coral reef surveys. Evenings were spent logging the data onto spreadsheets.

Monday and Friday was spent collecting fish length data from local fisherman, along with photographic evidence of the fish next to a scale, for ID purposes. It is a 45min walk to get there from where we are staying and we stayed on site 7am-4pm, which is a long day in the sun. Luckily we took a tent with us that provided us with some much needed shade. However, the wind blew our tent ontop of us in Friday which made life interesting!

Tuesday and Wednesday we were based in Guinjata bay collecting fisheries data there 7am-4pm. At both fisheries sites, whilst waiting for fishermen to return to shore with their catch, we did beach cleans to maintain the LTO pledge to collect 2kg of ocean trash per item of merchandise sold. In the evenings we identified the fish species caught and entered this information into the spreadsheet along with size, location of the catch, and method of catch.

At the end of last week two new dive instructors arrived at the dive centre LTO is partnered with. After a few days of getting to know them, they joined us diving on Thursday where we conducted 2 coral reef surveys, using reef life methodology, on two separate dives. The new instructors are going to be a great asset to LTO and the dive centre over the coming months. 2 volunteers were diving, one person lay out the transect while the other recorded the compass bearing of the transect. Then one person held the GoPro and did all the filming while the other held the quadrat in place- a job that requires good  buoyancy. After the first few attempts were thwarted with flailing limbs due to failed attempts at neutral buoyancy, we got there in the end and we will improve with practice.

The third volunteer was snorkelling to record the GPS location of the start of the transect. Then their help with the coral reef survey was no longer required so this person climbed back aboard the boat and conducted a whale survey. Whale surveys were also conducted on days when we were conducting fisheries research at guinjata. Two people were at fisheries while the others were on the boat conducting a whale surveys, then we rotated for the next whale survey. The hydrophone was deployed by one person while a visual survey was conducted by the other. One humpback whale was spotted but they’re moving in in larger numbers now!

Hopefully more whales will be spotted in the surveys next week! This weekend we are going souvenir shopping and surfing. We hope everyone has a whale-tastic weekend!

Happy Father’s Day for Sunday!

Until next time.

Saskia, Nikki and Ellie