Thursday, May 10, 2012

Life in Paradise

Life on One Tree Island is my idea of paradise...

Most days began with a trip out into the lagoon system to collect samples.

Matthew, Marcela, and Darrell heading out on the Seabreeze
Since Darrell and I couldn't dive, we were in charge of monitoring and changing the onboard SCUBA tanks used to run the suction sampler, basically an underwater vacuum cleaner the divers used to suction up the samples they needed.

The samples were then taken straight to the wet lab so the living critters could be kept wet.

Samples placed in small tubs in the wet lab
Julietta then processed the samples to separate the living organisms from the coral and shell fragments.

Some pretty snails from the sample. The largest is less than 1 inch long.
The six of us on Matthew's team shared a dormitory style space that could have slept 16 people, so we each had plenty of room and privacy. The stairs led up to a porch and into the kitchen. There are two rooms (each with four bunks) on each side of the kitchen.

Entrance to our cabin
The path to the dorm was under mangrove trees loaded with black noddy nests, and dozens of pooping black noddies between dusk and dawn.

Black Noddy keeping an eye on the station
The kitchen had everything you needed for cooking amazing meals, plus an espresso maker! As if just living on a tropical island wasn't luxury enough!

Julietta, Erin, and Darrell talking science in the kitchen
The kitchen was the common area so was used for communal work as well as meals. The station had limited wireless internet access, but it was enough to keep us all connected.

The kitchen table doubled as a large desk
While Pete kept up on all things mechanical - including solar panels, the fresh water storage and filtration system, the ocean pump and tanks for the wet lab, the boats and motors, filling and hauling SCUBA tanks, and a myriad other things; Sarah work
Sarah working in the office on a cold morning

Sarah working in the office on a cold morning
Friday Afternoon Club at OTI
Marcela, Julietta, and Matthew on the porch of our cabin

Sea Eagles over the salt water tanks for the wet lab
Matthew and his entire "crew" at OTI

Sun setting on another perfect day at One Tree Island