After a night of planning and preparing to hunt for the elusive Lingula everyone was a bit on edge; what adventures would today bring? The water was calm and everyone was anxious to get out on the water and start rummaging through the sands. The plan was simple: lay the transect, find and count the brachiopod.
Easier said than done.
After reaching the sandbar and unloading, GPS and transects in hand, the hunt began! A few GPS coordinates were a bit questionable and some groups found themselves hundreds of meters away from the boats. One grueling hour later everyone hauled back into the boats, disappointed in the results; only one transect had found 10 Lingula within 50 meters, and the sun was already high.
After a brief respite from staring into the sand looking for traces of setae, we were off to our next location: Pyramid Reef. The haunting sight of the pyramid off the coast loomed over the horizon as we battled the now increasing swell to get to our second destination.
Okay, so maybe the swell wasn’t that high, but everyone was still a bit sore from the bumps and bruises taken on by battling Open Ocean the day before, so no one was in any mood for even the slightest sign of a wave.
Once at Pyramid Reefs we began our hunt with restored vigor! Perhaps it was the fantastic lunches concocted by Tiffany and Kim, or perhaps it was because we could hear the Lingula calling to us!
Pyramids did indeed prove to be much more abundant in the secretive brachiopods than we had previously imagined! One transect line was observed to have 7 of the little guys within 20 meters! Everyone was astounded and excited.
Had we had more time, the journey to the mysterious Pier would have been a successful hunt! But alas, time did not provide us to complete our third transect and we trudged home, both in victory and defeat.
After a power napping session had by all, our guest speaker (Chris Bird) arrived and informed us of Crown of Thorns outbreaks and Opihi reproduction. His enthusiasm lifted the spirits of everyone, and his lecture raised many questions. Were crown of thorn outbreaks really due to larval dispersal? Are management solutions of these deadly echinoderms appropriate? Or just a waste of money and time? And is social networking the new way to get experiments done? Just how many people are willing to work for Beer and Barbecue?
As we gathered around the table at 9pm everyone was exhausted, but spaghetti (cooked lovingly by Tiffany) and meatballs (created by Chef Cody, Ty and Kim) kept everyone going just long enough to make plans for the next day as well as struggle through our homework.
Instant relief from the day’s hardships hit as our heads hit the pillow.