Saturday, February 28, 2009

It’s All in a Day’s Work

The other day I spent three hours monitoring the MPA (marine protected area). I was working for the most part, but as you all know with me snorkeling is more play than anything else. Most of my work right now is trying to keep the crown of thorns out of the MPA. The crown of the thorns starfish eats coral and is personally accountable for much of the destruction of reefs worldwide. Having one or two around the reef isn’t going to do much damage, but large scale infestations can be problematic. Needless to say, taking out 10 of them in one day did not make me happy, and I only snorkeled in about half the MPA so I know there are more in there. But that just means I have to keep going back….darn! The other major marine project I have going is trying to catalogue the species I see so that when I leave the village has a record of what is in there. This is the really pleasurable part of my job. I swim around, taking pictures and noting what I see. I love getting paid to snorkel in a reef in the tropics. Every time I go monitor the area I see at least 5-10 new species; it’s amazing! Cute little anemonefish stare at me curiously from the comfort of their protective anemone. Schools of fish surrounded me in awe of such a strange fish. I’ve seen moray eels, Christmas tree worms, trumpetfish, butterflyfish, triggerfish, Moorish idols (think of Gil from Finding Nemo), and so many other species many of which I haven’t yet identified. It’s really fun to hang above a reef and just wait for the timid fish to come out from their hiding places. Or snorkel above a piece of reef where you don’t see fish immediately, but then once you start moving over it you notice all the fish with camouflage, really good hiding places you didn’t notice at first, or fish which come around a corner and nearly swim into your face. I think I might have given a few fish heart attacks. I can’t wait to get to the real work of constructing fish houses and re-stocking the MPA with clams, but for now I’m just fine with swimming around monitoring. Not bad for a day’s work if you ask me.

No comments:

Post a Comment