Entering the Fifth Week
I wanted to make this post today—having not posted a blog entry since arriving on Mo'orea—to give a little update on what has been happening down here in the tropics. I chose today because tomorrow our class will be heading north to the atoll Tetiaroa, well-known as Marlon Brando's island. There we'll be checking out the insane reefs, the massive fish that hang out there, the shark nurseries, and the bird rookeries.
Anyway, since arriving here I decided to study cleaner wrasses here in Mo'orea. These fascinating little fish are unbelievably complex, charismatic, and important for the reef ecosystems across the Pacific. They make fish healthier and healthier fish make a healthier reef. Check out this picture of one that spent a good 5-6 minutes cleaning my fins (sorry about the graininess—it's surprisingly hard taking pictures of the bottom of the fins you're trying to swim with):
I spend about five hours per day, three to four days per week in the water looking at 100m² quadrats and counting fish, coral cover, and algae cover. This gives me time to see some insanely beautiful things. I'd like to share with you some of my favorite sights and experiences: