Day 11 – Trying to get in bed with turtles

Our day started out nice and early with most of us waking up around 5:50 AM to prepare for our morning dive. You can imagine our enthusiasm as we got ready for meeting at the docks around 6:30 AM. We prepped the boats and fought the urge to pass out while waiting for Dr. Hunter and Trevor to arrive at the docks. Upon their arrival, we did our final checkups on the boats and set out to reefs 42 & 43. Our game plan for this dive was checking the marked turtle beds (we marked yesterday) for any potential residents. Travelling around the bay was a bit of a hassle today due to the time of day as well as the weather being mildly cloudy. Despite this inconvenience, we still arrived safely at the reefs, dropped anchor, and began our turtle search.

Tyler is Ready

Green and red team surveyed their markers on 43 while blue team was close by examining 42. Green team was only able to find one turtle in a marked bed, a white tip shark hiding in a bed, and a few swimming over a marker. Red team found three in marked beds, two around a marker, six at a cleaning station near their marker, and a whopping total of twenty-two turtles.  Blue team also found one turtle chilling in a bed and ten turtles in total.TurtleChilling
After we finished up at 42 & 43, we moseyed on down to reefs 50 and 52 to check for their potential as study sites. Unfortunately, the wave conditions at these sites are unforgiving. These reefs are not protected by the sandbar or any other reefs, which means the waves are quite stronger like deep sea waves. On top of this issue, the water depth was far too deep to conduct any benthic studies without SCUBA gear. At least a one turtle was observed at 50, as well as two sharks (one white tip and one unidentified). Red team lucked out at 52 and found a spotted eagle ray (why does green team keep missing these rays?). After a brief survey of the reefs, we called it and returned to Coconut Island.

ByeTurtle

Since we ended earlier than normal today, the group decided to go out for lunch over at Windward Mall. I was dead set on getting a burger from Teddy’s (it was a delicious burger), while the rest of the group went to get sushi. I caught up with them after finishing my meal, and we all goofed around the mall for a bit. We had to meet up with Dr. Hunter at 3:00 PM to discuss our proposal, so we called the shuttle to head on back. Discussing this proposal took a little bit longer than expected. After around three hours of discussing how we will tackle our research, we finally buffed out those scratches and came to a completed plan. If everything goes according to plan (like that ever happens), then these next two weeks should be easy peasy. We all cannot believe this project is finally coming to fruition. Written by: Gavin Armstead

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