Day 2 - Gaia Love

 

Gaia Love skipped the morning dive to continue powering through the rolling waves. We reached the first site of the day by noon. Batu Kapal was the first site, found in the Maluku Islands, also known as the Spice Islands because nutmeg, mace, and cloves were once exclusively found there. In between dives, the Plastic Team sorted the wastes collected from Day 1.

The second site was Lava Flow, right beside Gunung Api, a volcano that erupted in 1988. The molten lava destroyed the marine life around the island, but the story had a happy ending: within five years, the hardened lava became fertile ground for recovery. Now, over 120 species of coral have been identified at the site, supporting diverse schools of reef fish. It was the perfect site for the Coral and Fish Teams to get to work!

Both teams did 50-meter transects. The Coral Team laid out two transects, one between 8-10 meters and another at 18-20 meters. The Fish Team’s transect was between 9-10 meters. A few team members were assigned to video and photo documentation, while others were in charge of identifying and counting.

The third dive was a bonfire dive, a night dive at Lampu Hijou. While divers were down under, the Plastics Team began counting and identifying the types of plastics collected.

Tomorrow at 4AM, Gaia Love is scheduled to sail to Run.

 

Photo Credits:

Reef Photos - Fabian Schorp

Coral Transect Photo - Rui Wang

Charlotte Young analyzing plastic Photos - Michael AW

 

 

 

 

Day 1 - Gaia Love-Coral Report

 

Photo and Update from Paul Muir - Chief Coral Scientist aboard Gaia Love

First dive of the expedition in the picturesque natural harbour of Ambon! This is a fitting place to begin our expedition since some of the first reef corals known to science were described from this very place in the early 1600s. These early descriptions tell of luxuriant coral reefs in the harbour area, whereas today we find only found small fragments of coral. This is one of the main goals of our expedition: to document coral biodiversity across the region so that in future reef degradation is noticed and (hopefully) acted upon. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 1 - Gaia

 

Expedition members boarded Gaia Love in the morning, right after arriving in Sorong. We were warmly welcomed by the Gaia Love crew. After breakfast, safety briefing, boat briefing, and lunch (and a bit of nap time), we were ready for our first dive.

At 14:30, dive groups headed out for a shallow (5-7m) check-out dive in Rhino City, searching for critters, and trying out gear and Four Element suits. We found frogfish, moray and ribbon eels, and unfortunately lots of rubbish: plastic bags, food packaging, and a shoe, among others.

Knowing there was more plastic around, the Plastics Team, led by Charlotte, assembled to start our first data collection. We built a DIY spinnaker boom on a dive boat, and deployed the net around the site for 15 minutes. A visual inspection of the net showed plastic bags, cups, and tiny fish. A detailed analysis will be conducted.

Then it was time for the first blackwater dive! Eight divers plunged into 25-26C water to look for creatures that come out at night. 

Dinner was waiting back in Gaia Love. At dinner, we began to sail, encountering big waves throughout the night.

Deploying the net for the Plastic Team - (Photo by Stuart Ireland)

School of Razor Fish ( photo by Fabian Schorp)

First glimpses of the pristine reefs explored by the Gaia Love Team ( Photo by Fabian Schorp)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 1 - DAMAI II

 

Daily log – DAMAI II

Date: 30 September 2018

Boat location(s): Saumlaki Port - Nils

Weather conditions: Sunny and smooth waves (0.1 – 0.5m high)

General notes:

Team DAMAI arrived in Saumlaki Mathilda Batlateri Airport after an overnight flight. The team (and almost 700kg worth of luggage!) was promptly transferred to M/V DAMAI II. The crew welcomed the team and introduced us to our home for the next ten days. DAMAI II commenced the Elysium Heart of the Coral Triangle expedition at 1330 hrs. In the afternoon, we spent the night relaxing after three days of travelling. We also had a special birthday celebration for Sarah-Jo Lobwein (our Plastic Team Leader)! The team is heading overnight to Nils and is expected to reach about 0900 hrs to start their exploration of the coral triangle.