Every morning seems to be more difficult than the last. Bodies were aching and there was definitely some grumbling as everyone started the day off. As we got our gear ready in a semi-conscious state, we planned our day of surveying that we had discussed the night before. After a brief discussion of the importance of replication in our experimental design, we headed out to Reef 44 in the North Bay of Kaneohe Bay. We saw a couple green sea turtles along the way, with Team Leader Ryan taking the helm of the UHMB boat. The weather cleared up just as we got to the reef, and we were over the side as soon as we could get our fins on.
The edge of the reef looked beautiful in the sunlight, as schools of small parrotfish and tiny domino damselfish nibbled at algae. All the difficulties from the morning just melted away as soon as we were back on the reef. Grumbles quickly turned into jovial giggles and Ryan, Liz and I were soon quipping back and forth and having a jolly time. Our data collection went swimmingly (pause for laughter) and we even spotted one of our urchins in a sediment trap!
Sadly though, we were seeing quite a few coral colonies that look unhealthy and are starting to bleach. I made sure to snag some pictures to pass along to other researchers.
Soon, we were all finished on the reef and were headed back by 1:20pm. After cleaning up, showering, and a quick cat nap, we headed to the classroom for an interesting and informative presentation by Matt Iacchei on two spiny lobster species found in Hawai`i. Dr. Hunter had the privilege of being our demonstration lobster, and Dr. Iacchei made a smart move by supplying us with M&M’s to keep us awake.
For dinner, I made baked ziti using my mom’s special secret recipe…which is mostly cheese and noodles. It went really well and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I ate until I was about to burst. It was definitely time for a heavy carbo-load so we can be energized for another busy day of data collection tomorrow!