|A booby escort from Palmyra|
|A bit of play|
We moved on for two days at Kingman Reef- always the highlight for me of this trip. Here one feels as remote as you can in the Pacific realm, an ominous V-shaped reef greets you- waves breaking over coral shelled spits you can barely see, a place with a powerful yet mysterious quality. Beneath the sea, there is a remarkable vibrance of colors with clams, corals, fish. My favorite here was the abundance of sharks. As if carrying a tuna attractant, every time I got in- I saw grey reef sharks, white tips or black tips. A few were a bit more than curious, potentially attracted to the shine of my weight belt- we safely negotiated our time underwater in the region with the sharks- and had a sense of their control over this spectacular reef.
|Sailing through a squall|
We've sailed for the past three days into the trades easterly gusts, to get to our next island stop in Kiribati -Christmas Island. It was tough at times beating into 6-8 ft seas- I took a photo from my port window on stormy wake up. Squalls at night reminded us of the challenges of taking sails down in powerful winds, students performed flawlessly, and the drenching rains cleaned the decks and felt refreshing to our often salt drenched skin and clothes. We had a first class play on board (Picture shows the cast) about "winkling", from the science watch - that helped us learn the chemistry of measuring oxygen in the water. We preformed a series of "stations", casting meter nets and Tucker trawls acquiring the final data for some transect projects looking at the oxygen minimum layer, and deep scattering layer organisms in relationship to the physical properties of the water column.
|Christmas Island ahead!|
Now we're about to enjoy three days in our final port of call before turning the ship North to sail home to Honolulu.