September/October Week 2

Week 2 – Anne, Charlotte and Jamie

Another whole week has passed and it has flown by! We’ve had our first full weekend here which was hectic but so much fun! On Saturday morning we went on our first fun dive (they are all fun but this one required no need to collect data)! We went to Batfish and managed to spot a cowfish, pufferfish, moray eels and lots of sexy shrimp 😉 Following this, we went on our first ocean safari where we saw an enormous bloom of jellyfish so we decided against snorkelling as well as lots of Humpback Whale encounters which was magical as ever!

We’ve done a fair share of fisheries research this week alternating between Paindane beach and Guinjata beach waiting for fishermen to bring in their daily catch to allow us to meaure, record and ID the fish. The days consist of lots of walking, lifting kayaks, counting fish and collecting as much trash as we can off of the beach! This week we’ve managed to collect just under 20kg which we’re determined to increase every single time we carry out a beach clean! We’ve been shocked at the mass amounts of trash including monopoly houses, shoes, toothbrushes, trivial pursuit pieces and shopping baskets, but it’s a great way to put into perspective just how much we rely on plastic, encouraging us to work towards a lifestyle less reliant on it.

We’ve been lucky enough to carry out two coral reef surveys this week which involved a lot of swimming into each other due to the surge and watching our videos to ID the coral and the fish which were spotted on the dive. We’ve been granted permission to carry on without Lis’ supervision as we apparently did it ‘perfectly’!

Alongside our fisheries and coral reef data, we’ve carried out several humpback whale surveys seeing some more calves, pods of dolphins and what we thought was a whale shark until we got close enough to it to realise it was a branch…

It has been an intense week and despite the sunburn and long days, we are still having a fab time!

First week of field research has come to an end, and what a week! Over the past week our little trio has been to Paindane nothing short of three times and been collecting fisheries data nearly every day. Tuesday they had quite the intense introduction to coral reef surveys confronted with the worst visibility we’ve had all year – a shocking 2 metres viz of green algae soup (fingers crossed it’ll bring in manta rays and whale sharks though!). So far we’re hugely impressed with how well they’re managing everything, and we think a weekend of fun-diving is well deserved!

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