A Blog-less Summer

If you’ve been wondering where Ive been and you didn’t read my last blog post, than you might not know that Ive been here…..

Conducting field research in the Wakatobi Marine National Pack SE Sulawesi, Indonesia

Now many of you may think ‘Field Research? Pah more like a holiday!’, its unbelievable how many times i have heard this over the past 4 months. Well yes it is a holiday if you class working 19 hour days, averaging 5 hours sleep, eating rice for every meal of the day, not having a toilet or a shower and being limited to 5 eggy scoops of water a day, having no internet, being constantly available for students,, having lots of extra work to do as well as my own, being electrocuted, not being able to readily buy lab materials or personal products such as shampoo, being on an island 7km around for 2 months and never seeing somebody new, everyone knowing every part of your business (including toilet habits). well then yes i definitely had a ‘Holiday’!

Although don’t get me wrong its not all bad, a actually quite enjoy many of those things that others would consider deal-breaking. i like being uncontactable, not having to deal with people contacting you all the time and constantly being available for a chat! i don’t even mind the eggy mandi (bucket of water for a shower) or the squat toilet (hole in the ground). Okay being limited to 3square km of island is a bit testing, but its one of the most beautiful islands in the world, surrounded by golden sand beaches, coral reefs and coated in lush jungle filled with wildlife. i don’t even mind getting up at 5.30 am, before the sun, taking the ten minute jungle trail to my lab. being the first one up makes me feel like I’m on a deserted islands, just me and the birds, who always have spectacular morning symphonies.

Every evening is a spectacular sunset, you cannot imagine how many pictures of sunsets you can have until you witness almost 50 of them.

Armed with my Nikon D90 and my new Macro lens (Tamron 90mm) i spen all those moments in between experiments, meals, walking to different buildings…. taking photos of wildlife! Here are some of the best…

Golden Orb Spider Nephila pilipes

Golden Orb Spider

Diadem roundleaf bat (Hipposideros diadema)

Brown Tree Skink (Dasia grisea)

Tokay Gekko (Gekko gecko)

Collard Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris)

And its not just the terrestrial world that was biodiversity rich, under the surface of the crystal blue waters was an abundance of underwater life. Luckily i had my trusty underwater compact to help me capture it (Fuji Finepix f45).

Nudibranch (Chromodoris willani)

Nudibranch (Chromodoris dianae)

Leafy Scorpian Fish (Taenianotus triacanthus)

Yellow-Edged MorayEel (Gymnothorax flavimarginatus)

Scool of Chevron Barracuda (Sphyraena qenie)

Cuttle Fish

This is just some of the amazing things to see on Hoga Island, if you want to check out some more of my photos, you can see them on my Flickr Profile

It wasn’t all taking photos mind, i actually got a vast amount of work done, much of which will form a chapter in my PhD thesis and possibly even publications. i also supervised four undergraduate dissertations, wrote for the Operation Wallacea brochure, got filmed for the website and assisted on other projects including helping to capture one of the most venomous snakes in the world, the yellow lipped sea krait (Laticauda colubrina) for research conducted by the University of west Florida on cutaneous respiration.

And if your interested to know about the research i conducted then I’m planning that as my next blog post so stay tuned.


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