Monday, May 18, 2015

Caroline Atoll

A drone photo of the Seamans at Caroline Atoll
Stanford@SEA 259 has enjoyed a magical weekend at Caroline Atoll. The southern Line Islands are one of the last great coral reef systems that thrives oblivious of mankind. The entire ship's company was wowed by the site of a spectacular coral atoll rich with wildlife in abundance and corals as pristine as the Stanford Faculty and SEA staff have ever seen. The reef was alive with a high biodiversity of coral reef fish- and top predators swam about  our transects freely curious but not alarming. Large schools of colorful parrotfish, snappers as large as small tunas, and Bluefin crevally swam by in peace. Fish were curious not afraid of humans. The fish biomass and coral projects had excellent snorkeling conditions as the weather cooperated with little surf and gorgeous light breezes.  The entire ship's company went snorkeling to experience this once in a lifetime site. This was the place we dreamed about coming to- and as we head on to Malden we are feeling the delight of having been to a place equivalent in the oceans to Yosemite that few people ever get to experience. We have light breezes and fair winds as we head up to Malden continuing our journey.

The pictures are from our drone that has been excellently piloted by Jan
Witting- the shots we're getting will make a fine and dramatic video for future classes to see. Even in compressed formats you can appreciate the remarkable site of this spectacular fringing reef.

-Barbara Block

Chief Scientist of the Week otherwise known shipboard a the COW Stanford University


KarenH said...

absolutely gorgeous! what a fantastic day this must have been for all of you!

Peter Shea said...

Thank you Barbara, Sierra and Isabella for sharing your adventure. Three posts in one day was a treat for us landlubbers. The unspoiled reef must have been amazing!

kathleen brady shea said...

The drone's photos are fantastic and really help us envision the pristine paradise you visited. Also love Heidi's spectacular turtle photo...