Yesterday, taking a break from their divemaster studies, divemaster canditates Monty and Jamie headed out to Cakau Batidra (commonly know as Sailstone Reef) and to a dive site called Golden Dreams with Dive Wananavu manager Victoria Liles and divemaster Iosua (Josh) Papu.
Sailstone Reef is a natural barrier reef and was the sole protection for the coastal villages along the northern Rakiraki area of Fiji during Tropical Cyclone Evan in December 2012. During the last few months we have been investigating areas that sustained quite a bit of damage and are wanting to set up areas to survey the recovery. Along come Monty and Jamie. Having spent three months in the Yasawa islands with Global Vision International (GVI), Jamie and Monty have been training in reef and fish surveying techniques.
Having already targeted an area, all four of us went to map and see if we would be able to set up a range of depths to monitor and get more of an idea for what is currently there and how it would be best to survey. While spending 70 minutes focussing on one area of the reef, we did have some nice surprises as a Grey Reef shark and the biggest Spanish Mackrel passed by, and a peacock mantis shrimp showed up right in the middle of a possible survey line. Who said scientific diving was boring!
Jamie and Monty will be spending the next few days extensively mapping the reef system and the areas they think will be perfect to meet our survey targets. Trying to find a baseline and see how Sailstone reef recovers in the wake of TC Evan.
Stay posted for updates on what we find!