Day 15: Memorial Day!

With the second week wrapping up and the third beginning, we only have another week to collect data. Even though it’s a holiday for everyone else, we’re still going out looking for turtles!

Today, the benthic team began at the Sandbar (now with a pin from the Department of Aquatic Resources) to look for Gracilaria. Unlike Saturday, we were successful and found the algae almost immediately! We set up our transects and got our data. The water was really clear, so it was really easy to determine the percent cover.

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After that, we made our way to South Bay to look at one of the fringing reefs there. Nearby, the short walls of a fishpond stood from the water, so we made our way there. The swim was really long, and visibility was kind of awful once we finally got to shallow waters. To make matters worse, there was no Gracilaria around! We swam over towards some sailboats for a while before Gracilaria finally appeared. Seems like we just got off the boat at the wrong spot. Visibility was still limited so it was a bit more difficult to collect data, especially since our swimming kicked up sediment, but we made do.

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After we finally managed to collect our data, we went back to Coconut Island for one final survey. It was around 1:30, so we quickly cleaned up the boat and packed our things before getting on the 2 o’clock shuttle to the pier. Since we saw a lot of turtles around the pier the other week, we really wanted to quantify the Gracilaria there. The water was only around knee deep, so we were able to leave our fins and wetsuits behind. We managed to finish collecting data before the 3 o’clock shuttle and returned to the island, finished for the day.

Meanwhile, the turtle team visited Marker 12, Reef 45, and Reef 36 in North Bay. In addition to seeing a lot of turtles today, they also saw a hammerhead and some mantas swimming by! Why do the other teams always get to see the cool things?! Well, at least they got some cool pictures!

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With just under 2 weeks remaining, we really need to step it up so we can finish everything in time. Wish us luck!

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