Last night was a particular treat for us as we headed ashore on to South Brother. There we could not help but stumble across numerous Tropical shearwaters as they roosted on the ground beneath the trees. Pete has already told you a little more about the significance of this in yesterday’s blog. Great to see these birds doing so well here. This was not the only interesting find of the evening though as we came across a gravid Coconut Crab toward the end of our surveys across the island. It is rare to observe the crabs in this state as they tend to conceal themselves in burrows whilst the eggs are carried, only emerging to head down to the beach to wash the eggs off into the shallows of the sea.
A tropical down pour this morning slowed the start right down. Torrents of rain reduced visibility to about 50 meters shutting down dive operations and our pick up from the island for about an hour. Fortunately for us the weather cleared before we got too bedraggled and after swimming off the island and on to the pick up boat we headed back to the research vessel for a much needed hot shower and breakfast.
The benefit of the early morning rain is that it appeared to clear the water for diving. When we eventually did get to our dive around South Brother the visibility was amazing. The water clarity allowed for astonishing views down the drop off with the bottom still clearly visible beyond 50 meters. The corals on this side of South Brother are in superb health so the combination of crystalline water and lush coral gardens made for a rewarding dive.
The afternoon’s dive differed somewhat as we headed to North Brother. Although the corals weren’t as developed there was prolific and diverse fish life, several Grey Reef Shark buzzed us while we dived and shoals of Black Snapper hovered over the reef with myriad smaller reef fish darting amongst the coral heads beneath. Another varied and exciting day on the expedition!