Monday, June 20, 2011

Presenting Dr. Wendy Cover!!

We’re on our way to Midway!  Actually, we should be there by 9 pm tonight Midway time (4 hours behind CA, 1 hour behind Honolulu), thanks to a new jet G-2 that gets us there in 2.5 hours!  It’s so much better than our old G-1 that took 5 hours and supposedly much quieter, but I’ll still miss the G-1 a bit – it has lots of memories and you get to know the other 10 people or so on the plane quite well after being in that tiny space with them for 5 hours!!

Our plans for the first few days include: unpacking and re-organizing everything we’ve left there and are bringing with us, checking our coral transplants, downloading and re-deploying temperature loggers, and basically checking our various projects.  We’ll try to maintain the blog with posts once or twice per week.

Until then, however, we have a few exciting announcements.

First, we’d like to present Dr. Wendy Cover!!  Wendy triumphantly gave her final Ph.D. dissertation seminar on Monday 6/6.  It was titled “Species interactions affecting corals and recruitment on a protected, high-latitude reef.”  Afterwards, many of her family and friends joined us for a barbecue, which featured a “roast” Powerpoint presentation showing embarrassing photos and stories of Wendy (Midway featured prominently, of course!), a champagne toast to Dr. Wendy by her advisor and our lead investigator Don Potts, and a yummy carrot cake decorated by Nemo and Dory (closest I could find to coral reef theme!!).  We are all very, very proud of Wendy and wish her the best in her future endeavors!  We will definitely announce when Wendy determines her next steps and/or comes to Midway!

Second, Anne and I enjoyed two warm-up dives off Oahu yesterday.  The first was to an artificial reef created by sinking a yard oiler from Pearl Harbor, YO-257.  We reached 106 feet, so it was a pretty short dive.  We loved the eels, turtles (resting on the smoke stack!), and variety of fishes we saw.  The second dive was to a reef just off Waikiki harbor.  Although we weren’t too impressed with the fishes and corals we saw, we were happy to see two white-tipped reef sharks resting under ledges, a huge variety of sea urchins, and one very, very fat monk seal!  Turtles, sharks, and monk seals aren’t particularly exciting to us because we’re spoiled by Midway, but even our dive instructor, who’d been diving in Hawaii for 11 years, had never seen a monk seal while diving before and everyone else was very excited too!

More news coming soon from Midway!

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