Thursday, May 10, 2012

10/05/12 Surveying the Reef

The past couple of weeks have bought around wet weather, a farewell to a few and a welcoming to a new set of volunteers. Our schedules have now changed to focus on our duties, diving and surveys and Team Leadership presentations. The time that you have off in-between is what you make of it. We have now finished and passed our coral identification workshop exams and on the spot identifications, and have moved onto the next section of training – the part that I have been most eager to begin. A lecture and an on-land example of Line Intersect Transect (LIT) and Belt transect methodologies was given, followed by another exam. The focus of the upcoming weeks study will be to memorize the abbreviations, which has already proved to be helpful during methodology dives. The methodology was easy to understand as the lecture was straight forward and gave an insight as to how and why things are done. The method used is globally recognised and standardised, emphasising the regional and global significance of this project. 
The first LIT methodology practice dive disheartened me slightly as the site was very surgy and I was not used to spending an entire 45 minutes upside-down, and completing the task was more difficult than expected. I did find, however, that I was starting to identify the corals without thinking and so this encouraged me, and by the next LIT methodology dive I was ready to try harder. It has definitely become much easier after a few practices and after some discussion with the other volunteers it appears everyone has developed their own tricks and methods which help them hover upside-down and made the survey easier to complete. The encouragement and support of the staff and other volunteers has been a huge factor in making the practice surveys easier to complete and I am excited to begin the real surveys!