Today was the first data collection day for my URCO project. We started out the day with a Coral Watch activity. They are a citizen science group. We learned how to check the health of corals and got to snorkel and do a bit of it ourselves. Camp, Cassie, Trisha, Ed, and I had to duck out early though to set up the cameras and lettuce for my project. We decided to do this at high tide because that is when fish abundance in the lagoon is greatest. It was a lot of work getting all of the gear out to the patch reefs. We had about 17 five-pound dive weights, two mallets, and 9 GoPro Cameras on large stakes to swim out. It was about a 200-meter swim in fairly choppy water. We used big tubs to transport all the gear out. The trickiest part was finding the patch reefs again. We had to do quite a bit of swimming around to find an area with no patch reefs near a 20 meter transect line. Once the transect was laid, we staked the cameras into the ground with the mallets and clipped a 2 by 10 centimeter piece of lettuce to a dive weight. We let the cameras sit for two hours before picking them up again. This part went by much more quickly because we could find them easily with the buoys. The tide was also lower and the water calmer. Hopefully I captured some statistically significant data. By the end of all of this, Ed’s watch said that we had swam about 5 kilometers.
This day has pretty much been full of my project. We also did quite a bit of coral watch stuff later in the day. I caught a picture of an amazing sunset. This place is amazing!