Day 17: The calm before the storm

Today started out with our usual pep talk and encouragements from Dr. Hunter and our brilliant TAs. After this, we started our 5th morning in a row of GIS lab work with Dr. Wedding. Today we worked on producing a map of Hanauma Bay with previously collected data points, specific to different ocean bottom types. After our hour and 20 minutes of diligent map work, we collected all of our gear and headed down to the boats from the Pauley classroom.

Down in South Bay, Team Lingula embarked on their second day out on Pyramid Reef, this time, focusing on the Western portion of the reef known as Fringing Reef B3. Not much activity happened out in the water, aside from the usual data collecting and cross-country swimming. The water was very murky today and because of the lunar cycle, the tides have been extremely low this week, causing some so-called “field problems.”

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Up in North Bay, Team Montipora started their day on Reef 44. They were on “shark alert” because of a sighting this past Wednesday. While anchoring, there were a bunch of turtles around, popping up and faking everyone out. Then, off at the end of the reef, team leader Ryan spotted a black dorsal fin come up out of the water. That set everyone in the group on high alert, and soon Keisha, Liz, Kelsey and Ryan were watching what looked like a baby tiger shark circling around the end of the reef. Liz, Kelsey and Ryan had to jump in the water to do their 11:00 sampling run, but nobody caught a glimpse of any sharks and everyone made it back to the boat unscathed. Then, while everyone was just hanging out on the boat, the shark made another appearance! This time, it looked like it was going after a small turtle. The dorsal fin kept popping out of the water and the turtle was freaking out and waving its fins around like a panicked diver. Meanwhile, bigger turtles were circling the boat like they were seeking protection from something. They were coming within 3-4 feet of the boat, looking up at them, and then duck diving down and zooming away.

After all that excitement, it was time to get back into the water for more sample collection.  The rest of the day went smoothly; all the HOBOs and flags were collected from Reefs 44 and 47 and the team headed back to Coconut Island for the rest of the day’s activities.

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After working on another GIS map project, the class attentively listened in while cetacean and seabird specialist, Alexis Rudd, presented on her undergraduate research from Vancouver Island, Canada. Her research concerned the relationship between North Pacific Seabirds called Marbled Murrelets and the all-familiar Gray Whale. There appears to be a link between Gray Whale sightings and Marbled Murrelet gatherings because the two species enjoy some of the same sea creatures in their diet.

With tensions running high, because of the looming final week ahead, and the approaching Tropical Storm Flossie, it is time to enjoy our last weekend here on Moku o Lo’e.

 

Laters,

- Jesse

 

 

 

 

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