The fifth update from Naomi! make sure you have checked out her previous posts!
Friday 17th June – Thursday 23rd June 2022:
This week, we were able to carry out another two (very hot!) days of in-water work; on Friday, we collected data from 4 adult hawksbills and an infrequent juvenile hawksbill (which was sadly missing one of its rear flippers), whereas Monday was a quieter day with just 3 turtles. Saturday was another unique day: the whole Ocean Spirits team spent the morning on Grand Anse beach in the south of the island, and were involved in running a public event for kids in celebration of World Ocean Day (June 8th) alongside the local dive shop Eco Dive. Activities included body-painting and temporary tattoos of marine animals, searching for small critters within trays of seaweed (Sargassum sp.), and a sandcastle competition where the children had to create a marine organism of their choosing and present 2 fun facts about the organism at the end (prizes were up for grabs!). On Saturday afternoon, we were also offered the opportunity to snorkel at the underwater sculpture part or dive with Eco Dive, before heading back up north – I ended up diving on a nearby reef, and was lucky enough to see 2 octopi, a seahorse, a big sea cucumber, a scorpionfish, 2 slipper lobsters and a spotted moray eel, to name a few critters! On Tuesday, we said goodbye to 3 of the leatherback project volunteers, so I travelled down to the south with them, blood samples in tow, and was dropped at SGU. Tuesday afternoon and the following 2 days were spent in SGU’s Aquatic Animal Medicine Research Lab, re-labelling 2021 microcentrifuge tubes with our new coding system and processing blood samples (DNA extraction, quantification, and quality check). During my visit to the south, I was also fortunate enough to see some lovely sunsets, as SGU’s University Club (where I stay) is west-facing.