Dive-eat-dive - a typical day in the Phoenix Islands

We're finally getting into our groove out here. We've gelled as an expedition team; the science team is comfortable working together quickly and efficiently; we've found our sea legs. Now, it's all about the work. We just spent about 8 hours at McKean Island--a tiny spit of land with no trees, at least one shipwreck, thousands of birds, and several tons of associated guano. Of course, we were busy documenting the state of the reef as our #1 priority.

Studying coral at McKean Island during the current Phoenix Islands expedition (Photo: Jim Stringer)

During our brief visit, we split forces among us to complete 3 dives, a shore expedition, and an ROV exploration beneath the NAI'A (our mothership). We've been busy!

It's a funny routine, and it goes something like this:
7:30 a.m. - dive
9:30 a.m. - eat breakfast
10:30 a.m. - dive
12:30 p.m. - eat lunch
1:30 p.m. - dive
3:30 p.m. - snack
4:30 p.m. - dive
6:30 p.m. - eat dinner
Evening - transit to next island, or dive, depending

Coral photo from Nikamuroro Island during the current expedition (Photo: Jim Stringer)

In between- check species IDs, discuss thoughts with other expedition members, download photos, upload blog posts, transcribe data to computers, discuss the next day's dive agenda, fix samples, set up data sheets. Today, we're spending most of our day in transit between McKean and Kanton (Kanton is the largest of the Phoenix Islands, and the only one with human inhabitants (Population: 40-ish). It's a 24-hour steam between islands (a huge distance!).

From Nikumaroro Island during the current expedition (Photo: Jim Stringer)

We'll be at Kanton for about 3 days, and the whole time we'll be mostly doing our dive-eat-dive daily grind. It's funny to think about a routine out here, but humans are creatures of habit, and we adjust to new routines very easily. After all, life out here, in a way, is just another day in the office. But I have to say, we certainly have an amazing view. Gotta go eat or dive--not sure which at the moment, but it's always either one or the other.


The team visits Kanton again in 2012, see how it's changed here.

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