We awoke to a beautiful day here at our new home, Dive Kiribas, a collection of 5 thatched huts complete with our own private beach. The best part about our accommodations is the shower, which is made out of fossil corals (see photo).
The day’s agenda was ambitious. We had to touch base with the Christmas Island conservation officials early in the morning, test our drill during a test dive, and snorkel across reefs in the afternoon searching for healthy medium-sized coral colonies to drill. The officials were incredibly amenable to our plans, and surprisingly unconcerned about the drilling we would do in the next days. They instead were keen to monitor our movements in the more remote parts of the island, where nesting seabirds can be disturbed. Of course, to ensure the preservation of the colonies we drill, we will plug each drill hole with a cement plug that the coral will grow around and eventually seal up over several years.
|Testing the coral drill on shore|
|Kim & Diane showing off their day's coral haul|
Oh, and number of shark sightings today: 0. Very sad but predictable. Tomorrow we’ll be farther from the island’s various villages, so I remain hopeful that we’ll see signs of a healthy, vibrant reef ecosystem on a different part of the island.
|Out for an end-of-day snorkel (and water sample). From left: Kim Cobb, Hussein Sayani, |
Jess Conroy, Liz Wiggins, and Diane Thompson