Monday, March 9, 2009

finally, more photos

hi everyone!  i got back from Moorea a few days ago and - despite the bad head cold I'm sure I got on the plane home - I'm still walking on a cloud from what a fantastic time I had.
Here are some memorable images from the trip:

view of Tahiti from Moorea on the way back from the Champion store

this is the outrigger canoe I got to paddle with Val & co.

the color of this water is real...

view looking east while driving along the north side of the island

This is rock at David's new sampling site that we called "anemone city"
(the rock, that is, not the site)

snorkeling at that same site - an octopus blinking from a hole in the rock

Later on at Stingray city, here I am with ray AND shark
(photo credit courtesy of d. comboschsan)

ray and shark - two great fish that go great together

hello turtle

stay tuned - more photos to come!

Friday, February 27, 2009

second week in Moorea

hello all! sorry the blog entries are few and far between - the email access is slow so each picture I upload is taking quite a long time, plus - as I said - I just don't want to spend too much time here sitting at a computer, I can do that at home!
Instead, I've been working with Jim, diving every day for the past three days, and hanging out a lot with the TA's of the three-seas course.
Jim left early yesterday morning for Fakarava; that's an atoll that's about an hour and a half away by plane. Part of his motivation was the fantastic, remote, and supposedly pristine diving opportunity, and the other part is the fact that - due to a lot of busy groups coming through the station - we had to leave our bungalow, manini. Jim's last day bordered on stressful as we hurried to get through the rest of tank inspections and other stuff he had to wrap up. Then, we spent that night (wednesday) at Hannah's fabulous beach bungalow - nice, because I've actually got to spend very little time with her.
On thursday morning we woke up at 5am to take Jim to the airport - I got to drive a car on the island for the first time, and I liked it! Now I've moved over to the "beach bungalows" where I'm sharing the space and the charming company of the 5 TA's for the three-seas program - Liz, Kate, David, Adrian, and Zach (for those of you who know them).
Now that Jim has gone, I feel I am in phase two of my trip: less structured work for the dive program, more free-form time to do what I choose. and yesterday, I had a fantastic adventure going out past the Motu Itis to the northwest corner of the island for a diving adventure with David.... i'll have to write more about this tomorrow since I'm running out of time now (sun is coming up over the hill - unbearable to sit in this spot anymore). But here's a preview: sting rays! black tip reef sharks! turtles! an eel, an octopus, a tropical nudibranch... oh, and David collected his pocillopora specimens too. I got to help collect some coral data. The day was brilliantly hot and torquise and blue interrupted 3 or 4 times by brief refreshing cloudbursts. We took lots of pictures (some underwater too - me with a sting ray and a shark!) but still need to download them - stay tuned!
sending greetings to all my loved ones - i hope all is well wherever you are in the world
(p.s. robin - day before yesterday I finally had a chao mein baguette for lunch. delicious! you are right again. Today I hope to get to the juice factory with Liz)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

first week

this is a banana tree, just outside the main Gump office.

Sorry - I'm having trouble trying to figure out how to put stuff in any certain order! and don't want to spend too much precious time in the tahitian tropics in bloggersville. So, these pics are more than a little disorganized...

this is the Gump station dock, looking out at Cook's bay.

Here's where I've been sleeping! with fan and mosquito net, in the "upstairs" of our bungalow.

Hannah picked us up at the little airport in Moorea in a Gump vehicle - this is Jim and me (with duty-free bag o' booze)

and now for some text to go with this blog....

Hello all! for those of you who don't know, I was able to arrange to come to the Gump Marine Station to help Jim, the Dive Officer for UC Berkeley who oversees diving here. My friend Hannah is also living here this year, working through CRIOBE, the french marine station on Moorea.
So, I got to come to Tahiti, meet up with Jim & visit with Hannah - it's been great!

For this first week, I've been staying with Jim in a bungalow at the marine lab; it's called "manini". In my first 4 days, I've only been diving twice (also inspected a bunch of SCUBA tanks for the station and generally been hanging around, checking out the nearby town), but both of those have been great! I've seen octopus, some giant clams, eels, a white-tipped shark, and - unfortunately - more than a few thorn-of-crowns starfish. Also a couple of big anemones.

looking down at Moorea on the small plane from Papeete.

I also got to help paddle a 6-woman outrigger canoe with Val, the station's secretary, twice! she is practicing for a race in a couple of weeks (sorry, no pics of this either)
On Sunday (my third day here), we couldn't do much of anything outside because there was a crazy storm! big winds and sideways rain, palm trees whipping around - that's just one more thing I don't have pictures of, sorry!