On Thursday, we wrapped up our final day of diving in Majuro. Our first day was a bit of a rude awakening compared to the relatively clean reefs of Arno, but we were pleased to discover some beautiful sites on our last three days of diving. My first impressions are pretty much what we hypothesized, that the sites around Arno have more coral diversity and higher coral cover than the sites around Majuro, which are close to higher populations of people. Next comes the fun part: Analyzing the data to see if they show the same thing!
Things went really well until our second-to-last day of diving, when the boat we were on broke down. Fortunately, we were rescued by our captain’s nephew Ben, who then agreed to take us diving on his slightly fancier boat, the Four X, for our last day. It took us over six hours to get towed back to the dock, and we missed our third dive of the day, but the good news is we had a chance to watch the sun set over Majuro, and then could see the stars come out. We missed Ronnie and Cary on our last day, but had a lot of fun with Ben and his first mate. Their boat is a little faster, so we were able to wrap up quickly, and were back at the dock before 4 p.m.
That night, we had a farewell dinner with a few of the many people who have helped to make this project a success. It was a lively affair with lots of animated story telling. I’m excited that I still have another ~7 weeks to spend with the wonderful people we’ve had the pleasure of working with. We’re already starting to plan our trip back to continue working here next summer (fingers crossed).
I spent the weekend catching up on emails, laundry, data organization, and getting ready to start my internship with the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA) next week. I also spent an inordinate amount of time trying to avoid starting myself or my apartment on fire while cooking dinner on a hot plate for the first time. And, because I’m a firm believer in marking momentous occasions with tattoos, I took a break to visit a friend at his shop, Marshall Arts Tattoo. This way, a little piece of the Marshall Islands will be with me always.