So, we’ve been generally doing two simultaneous field excursions per day, one group goes diving and one group goes snorkeling/wading. Usually we split up at the dock, but one day we all piled onto the boat (9 of us, plus dive gear for 5). Here is the boat from the water, once the snorkelers have abandoned ship, with one of the divers hidden, taken while treading water without fins with a collecting bag in one hand and a camera in the other while trying to keep one’s delicate ears out of the water.
Our numbers have grown. Both Art and Zach have come to join us. Art was immediately up to his old tricks. Our yabby pump might still have the impression of his hand on the handle. He has recruited Jean-Philippe to help him and they have pulled shrimp after shrimp out of their burrows. Looks like he’s got the hang of it.
Zach is here to help out and see how we do things. Unfortunately, the weather has kept us from diving for the past several days and limited our collecting to sheltered areas that we can reach by car. But science waits for no one so we’ve hit up a lot of habitats and utilized our numbers to employ a diverse array of collecting techniques.
The technique at this spot involved trying not to get shredded to ribbons by violent waves on rocky daggers of doom…also, collecting rock for bashing, and reaching brazenly into clumps of seaweed.
Right on the other side of the peninsula from this spot was an idyllic beach with sand and seagrass flats with lots of burrows for Art and Jean-Philippe. John spent a lot of time here snorkeling through the seagrass with a sieve to see what he could shake off.
We also recently hit up some mucky mangrove habitat. Before getting in the water, Gustav laid a crab trap. My attempted action shot ended up as a picture of Gustav with a string in his hand, but you can use your imagination.
François tried to sneak up on crabs with a metal basket net and hand net. Zach went through the silt and seagrass with a fine mesh net. We all tried to keep our faces out of the green, opaque water.
So, even without diving, we’ve been keeping ourselves busy. With so many people now staying at the house, the gear-explosion has reached epic levels.
Keep in mind that this is just (most of) our gear. Some more gear, all the specimens, and all the processing stations are not pictured.
Tomorrow heralds the return of diving (fingers crossed). We’ll see what we can find!