The sun rose over the calm seas in Kaneohe Bay, O’ahu this morning whilst nine young, intelligent, charismatic, strikingly good looking marine biologists prepared for the day ahead of them. Research and adventure was what Mother Nature had in store for the companions as they looked over charts and filled their seafaring vessels. As the morning waned, with research plans in hand I, call me Daniel, set out with two of my companions and a seasoned captain in search of the rare inarticulated brachiopod Lingula reevii and the mysterious Montipora dilatata coral. In order to catalogue population densities, growth rates, predators, and other aspects of the ecology of these “species of concern” our manifests included those obscure items only scientists of our caliber were able to wield: meter wide quadrats, waterproof cameras, transects, and above all a superior knowledge of aquatic life.
With sea spraying in the wind and a thirst for adventure we embarked on our journey. The three groups which parted from our original nine located their respective coral sites using trusty handheld GPS locators and commenced their research. It proved far more difficult than expected to use tape measure transects amongst the endless coral beds of reef 44 yet we persevered and obtained the data IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE!
Upon departing the reef me and my trusty sidekick, Lauren Van Heukelem, looked down upon ominous waters as we approached our ship. To our surprise a magnificent 6ft hammerhead shark lurked out from the shadows and graced us with its presence. Unfortunately our unexpected guest did not stay long enough for a photo opportunity and Lauren and I are left with an epic encounter diminished to not but a fish tale. We exited the water, ate lunch, and headed off to the sandbar in search for the aforementioned elusive brachiopod. To my dismay, I confess, I do not have an aptitude for finding this species. This, however, was offset by the inhuman abilities of my comrades’ sharp eyes and keen noses; I digress, I am thoroughly convinced they can smell a single L. reevii in a thousand drops of water. “HOLY SEA CUCUMBERS!” my good friend Keisha would exclaim upon finding one for her group.
With the sun going down on our beautiful island and empty stomachs we boarded our ships and left flow meters and sediment traps behind to collect data overnight. Maddy explored her exquisite culinary skills in our kitchen and cooked up some grub for the crew. (twas delicious!). And as I wrap up this longer-than-usual blog entry I wish you, the reader, to keep a weather eye on that horizon, for day in and day out us nine companions will be braving the high seas in order to ensure the safety of two species of concern!
Until next time, this is Daniel DeSmidt signing off this “coconut telegraph”!