September/October Week 3

Week 3: Anne, Charlotte and Jaime

Week three already! Time is flying by and we are over halfway through our time in this beautiful place! We started our weekend with an early morning dive at Manta Reef. The sea was flat and the sunrise was a bright orange distracting us all whilst kitting up. We were briefed about our first deep dive here and told about the compulsory ‘Manta dance’ that we had to do if we wanted to see one so obviously we followed those instructions. The dive ended up being about 20 metres worth of reef due to the current, but somehow we still managed to see a Manta Ray (except for Anne who was looking the other way) and an enormous school of barracudas! We couldn’t have asked for a better start to our weekend after such an intense week of work!

The weekend quickly came to an end and work started again! This week we have done loads of whale watching which is always a magical moment and we’ve had some incredible encounters with the calves swimming right up to our boat! Our dives have been successful despite having to battle with a strong current on Tuesday, but this was fortunately not the case on Friday as we had perfect conditions with the best visibility! We even managed to make sufficient time for exploring the reefs further where we spotted loads of Nudibranches, honeycomb moray eels, anenomefish, triggerfish adding to our long list of fish to identify for our surveys!

Our fisheries research has been very eventful this week as we sadly had a bluespotted stingray being caught which was obviously very sad for us, but hopefully the data we have collected will add to that to help enforce sustainable fishing in the area. We also had an interesting day at Paindane which involved a lot of rain, chips and pretending to be interested in the fishing competition. Instead we were there to measure the boxes full of game fish which resulted in a great team effort despite being soaking and freezing!

However, no weather conditions could sway us away from the experience that we’re having here and we can’t wait for the times that are still yet to come!

Time is truly flying and it’s hard to believe that we’re halfway through! As per usual the weather threw a bit of everything at us again this week; rain, wind and rough surface conditions, as well as bright, sunny days and stunning viz. Our October team is giving in their best enduring sunburns, sandblasting and getting drenched in the rain. All the hard work has been rewarded with the highlight of the week: Friday’s dives and amazing humpback whale encounters. After that, we’re certainly stoked about the Saturday early morning dive – we hope Manta Reef has more mantas and sharks for us! See you next week for painting and teaching at Guinjata and Paindane Primary Schools!

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