Note: the following post is the third in a series chronicling the ongoing expedition to the Raja Ampat Islands. Read more here.
We made it! After 16 hours of blissfully calm and almost uneventful steaming on the Putiraja, we arrived at the Conservancy’s Misool field station on a perfect, sunny afternoon. We’ve met up with the remaining team members from Wildlife Conservation Society and our local community volunteers from Misool.
We spent our time on the boat organizing our many underwater data sheets to record our observations and doing important but small things like tying the pencils to our slates to ensure we don’t lose them underwater. On the way, we stopped to buy some fresh fish from a local fisherman.
We negotiated our way carefully through the chain of hundreds of limestone karst islands that Misool is so famous for. It’s always a stunning vista sailing into Misool: clear blue water, turqoise reefs, brilliantly white sand beaches. I could go on but I’ve run out of superlatives!
At the station, we did last-minute preparations for diving tomorrow. The team responsible for monitoring fish practiced estimating lengths on the beach using plastic fish (see above) before they get in the water and practice with the real thing. The coral team went through a similar rehearsal so we can all agree on the same name for the same type of coral. It’s one of the challenges of working in the center of marine biodiversity — we have to learn all those species!
Tonight we’ll steam to our first diving destination in southwest Misool called Jef Pele, an area well known for its big fish.
Explore further coverage of this expedition on nature.org and learn more about the Conservancy’s involvement in the game-changing Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security.
(Image: Fish monitoring team prepare for the field; credit: TNC.)