Saturday, May 12, 2007

Our first days in Guam

We have survived Guam and are back on the water doing what we do best! On Wednesday the ship tied up at the naval pier in Apra Harbor on the west side of the island. It was nice to have a few days to relax off the ship and get our land legs back. While some people stayed on the ship a goodly number ended up getting hotel rooms and taking a little time off in and around Tumon Bay on the west side of the island.

Wednesday night we returned to the Fish Bowl, one of our favorite establishments from our last stay in Guam, where a good time was had by all. The next day we spent a good deal of our time by the pool at the hotel, making good use of the water slide and hot tub.

On Friday Ben gave a short talk at the University of Guam Marine lab where he presented the towed-diver fish protocols and gave an overview of our mission and project. The twenty or so members of the audience seemed to enjoy the presentation and asked a goodly number of well thought questions.

Today we are back on the water not too worse for wear and have completed a number of surveys along the west side of the island. While not nearly as nice as Wake, the coral cover in this area has been impressive and it is awfully nice to be able to spend two hours in the water without need of a wet suit.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Land Ho ... Guam

After another six days of transit we have sighted land again. This time Guam, the southernmost of the Mariana chain. This last transit has again been uneventful and the time has allowed us to begin much of the analysis of the data we collected at Wake.

We will spend the next two days in Guam where we change out various members of the science party prior to the next leg of the mission.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Amy and Stephane

Recently some of you have expressed increasing interest not just in our mission but in some of the people behind it. In particular, two gems of the underwater world: Amy Hall and Stephane Charette. Both members of the illustrious towboard team, Amy and Steph joined CRED in 2003 with the Marine Debris Program; a program to survey, catalogue, and remove derelict fishing gear, nets and other marine debris from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

From their start in Marine Debris and four field seasons in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, both have now broadened their horizons into the world of RAMP (Rapid Assessment and Monitoring), including deployments to the Main Hawaiian Islands, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and American Samoa. Both worked in a number of positions during these deployments, ranging from the Rapid Ecological Assessment (REA) and Oceanography teams to mission divemasters. Currently, they are using their towboarding skills for the collection of biological data on fish, coral and invertebrates from around the Pacific, with Stephane concentrating his efforts on fish populations while Amy's focus is on the benthic environment, specifically with invertebrate species.

In addition to his scientific duties, Stephane manages dive gear for all CRED personnel, spearheads many small-boat repair projects and helps manage facilities at the Kewalo Research Facility and SNUG harbor. Amy works with the Census of Marine Life, Census of Coral Reefs project which recently completed a successful expedition to French Frigate Shoals in 2006. She will return again in the summer/fall of 2007 to recover a series of autonomous reef monitoring structures (ARMS), new devices being deployed to examine cryptic and understudied invertebrate populations. She also coordinates all required field training modules for CRED personnel (e.g. CPR/1st Aid, etc.)

Our current expedition marks their first trip to Wake and the Marianas and their first experience crossing the date line. Both Amy and Steph have been impressed with their experience at Wake and are looking forward to an upcoming trip to Palau following our arrival in Guam.

Physically and professionally Amy and Stephane are doing just fine, mentally ... we're just not quite sure.

Jake Asher contributed to this article