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[Ashmore Trip 1] Day 9: Out to East Island

May 24, 2013

[This is the ninth in a series of ‘Ashmore Trip 1’ posts, essentially diary entries. Internet was unavailable at the Ashmore Reef, so they are being presented one-day-per-day now that I am back in Melbourne.]

15/04/2013

Another late start today (on-island about 10:00), which will be offset by a very early start tomorrow. Tidal day-rhythms take some getting used to.

In order to get some local contrasts, I sampled Noddies and Sooty Terns on East Island today. The day was hot and very still, so I consumed ~5 litres of water in the six hours I was on-island. The birds found conditions similarly tough – I abandoned sampling multiple birds at a time because the time in the bags was Limited success, see?stifling them.

We were finished sampling for the day around 16:20, and packed up for the 16 kilometre tender ride back to the ship. En route, we spotted a dugong just below the surface, and briefly pursued it. We recorded GPS co-ordinates for the sighting, adding it to the background trip data.

Back early, we went for a snorkel over the coral. I attempted photography, with limited success.

Track data is coming in at a reasonable rate. We downloaded a Lesser Frigatebird logger with a fantastic track on it – however, booby loggers are proving more difficult to retrieve data from. I think I shall write some new R script to properly display the tracks when we get back.

Tomorrow’s sampling starts at 3am, meaning we must be awake by 2:00. I’ll target Black and Lesser Noddies before sunrise. As at writing, I have to be awake in five hours.

New species for the day: Dugong, various corals, various coral reef fish.

 

Because sometimes, there are birds sitting on moorings

Because sometimes, there are birds sitting on moorings

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