Created: Sunday, 07 October 2018 16:43
Sack on Coral © Cassandra Dragon
Daily Log - Day 8 - Gaia Love
Date: October 7, 2018
Boat location: Misool, Raja Ampat
Dive sites: Pele's Playground (A23), Blue Water Mangrove (A24), Microplastics Trawl (MP07), Blackwater (A25)
Weather conditions: Dark and cloudy
The first dive was in Pele's Playground at around 8:00AM. Because it was dark and cloudy, the visibility was estimated to be only 7-10 meters, the lowest we've had during the trip so far. Some divers went down deep despite the low vis to explore what could be in the blue. It was a good call -- they witnessed a feeding frenzy, as if a marine ecology teacher wanted to show a class the food chain. There were jacks and snappers hunting and barracudas feeding on the silver slides. They even witnessed barrel sponges spawning! It was a sensory overload.
Sponge Spawning © Emily Chan
Due to the low visibility, Gaia Love decided to cancel the second day dive and start traveling 50 miles to the next site: Blue Water Mangrove. We reached the area past 2:30PM and started gearing up. The pre-dive briefing was a bit tense due to the site's history of a crocodile attack that injured a diver years ago. Divers were informed of different scenarios and responses.
Blue Water Mangrove ©Cassandra Dragon
The waters in Blue Water Mangrove were as flat as a lake. No crocodiles were in sight, so we got in the water. It was a postcard-worthy environment, with corals growing on the mangroves' roots. It was surreal to see hard corals and soft corals right beside and beneath mangroves! We also spotted a range of critters like a helicopter goby hopping about, a wasp fish, mantis shrimp, nudibranchs, archerfish by the surface. We also unfortunately found debris like sacks and a plastic cup.
The Fish and Coral Teams got a day off today. After the dive, the Microplastics Team went out for a trawl. A visual inspection showed plastic bags and other items - including one labeled "Made in the USA." A count using the microscope will be done tomorrow.
It's also Jennifer's birthday, so the chefs baked a cake for her and we sang happy birthday at dinner.
After dinner, the divers were able to squeeze in another blackwater dive!
By tonight, we'll start a journey of 105 miles to our next site.
Glass Fish © Emily Chan