This week I’m of to complete my field work in Indonesia for 8 whole weeks!
Exciting but stressful!
Exciting because I get to travel to a remote location in the Indonesian archipelago, with pristine coral reefs, white sandy beaches, and the equatorial sun!
Stressful because there are no showers, squat toilets, boring food, and I have to carry basically my whole lab and dive kit leaving me with about 10kg for my personal belongings!
The journey begins at Gatwick, 2pm tomorrow, I then have a 7 hour flight to Dubai, 9 hour flight to Jakarta and arrive 5pm in the evening the following day. I then have to stay overnight and fly in the morning to Makkasar, then fly to Bau Bau where we meet our overnight slave boat. Now you may wonder why it’s termed the ‘slave boat’! This is because you are literally jammed in like sardines. The boat is basically an ld wooden steam boat with a big shelf, upon the floor and the shelf are many mattresses laid next to each other about the size of a yoga mat! This mat is your home for the 10 hour trip to Wanchi Wanchi Island in the Wakatobi Marine National Park. We are then met by our own boat the ‘Bintang’, so called after the local beer, for another 3 hour trip till we finally reach Hoga on Friday evening 3 days after we left the UK!
My work will involve testing the techniques I have perfected in the lab and transferring them to the field. My experiments will essentially look test the bleaching susceptibility across a range of coral species across environmental gradients, ranging from optimal to marginal (sub-optimal). I will then assess skeletal characteristics to try identifying reasons for differences that I will hopefully find across the environmental range!
Field work is tough, I have written a timetable for my work that spans from 6am to 9pm everyday for 8 weeks with little or no days off! If everything works like clockwork I might get a few easier days but nothing really ever goes plan especially on Hoga!
I’m unsure if I will have much internet as of yet, but if I do I will try to update a few blog posts to let you know of any exiting going ons.
For now here is a few pictures of the island and site, just to make you jealous, but remember it’s NOT a holiday!