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)