“There is an end to everything, to good things as well” (Chaucer, 1374).
The morning air was filled with the scent of bacon as everyone awoke from their slumber. Cindy was busy behind the stove top cooking up the three packets of bacon that were still in the fridge. Scrambled eggs, potatoes and tofu scramble were lovely accompaniments to a grandiose breakfast on our final day on Moku O Lo’e.
The students were prepared for their final presentation on coral calving in Kane`ohe Bay and guests were eager to hear the results of their findings. But, before the presentation began, there were some well deserved photo awards to be presented. With the power of underwater cameras, the students were able to get some amazing photographs of life under the sea. There are certainly some budding underwater photographers in this group. To acknowledge their fine photographing skills, professional photographer Keoki Stender, selected the top three photos, had them printed and framed and signed them for each individual winner. Andrew, Marisa and Sarah were all winners for their fantastic shots. Congratulations to each one of them!!
The students did a fantastic job on their presentations and the instructors and class assistants could not have been more proud. We learned a lot about coral calving in Kane’ohe Bay and its importance as a contributor to reef erosion and growth in the bay. The presentation touched upon some of following factors with regards to coral calves: 1) current reef size and slope, 2) number, type, and size of calves along leeward vs. windward aspects of the patch reefs, 3) water motion and sediment character, 4) age of coral calves at the patch reefs, and 5) diversity of coral and algal colonists growing on calves.”
These students have put a tremendous amount of work into this final project. From free diving to measure the coral calves to watching water drip through filters to analyze sediment composition, from weighing clod cards three days in a row to spending countless hours making GIS maps, from measuring slope angles out on the reef to crushing coral rubble in the lab, from dealing with portuguese man o war stings to creating 30 plus graphs after analyzing data, these students have overcome many of the field problems they encountered, produced a 51 page final report, and learned a lot. Congrats to each one of them. Also, the students made sure to thank the coffee pot for the endless supply of caffeine it supplied!
After the presentations were complete and high fives were shared amongst the whole group, we loaded up the boats for one final trip out into the bay. Off to sandbar we went to celebrate and scrub the boats clean. Algae and barnacles were removed from the bottom of the boats, while many giggles were shared and pictures snapped. The final batch of brownies were passed around in the famous blue lunch tupperwears.
The class instructors and assistants also took a moment to reflect on the last 4 weeks and remarked on what a fantastic group we had, and how much we learned.
Many hesitated to load the boats and return to Moku O Lo’e, as that meant a true farewell to the island. Others were eager to leave the bay and the island to see loved ones and return to homes near and far. The classroom was left spotless and the dorms were eerily empty. The students grabbed all their belongings and headed to Lilipuna pier for one final group shot.
A bittersweet ending. It was certainly four weeks of learning, exploring, solving field problems, building new friendships, becoming better scientists and soaking in all the vibes of Moku O Lo’e. The island and the bay will be forever remembered in the minds and hearts of these students and the students will forever be remembered by the island and the sea.
Mahalo Moku O Lo’e and Mahalo Kai.