The 1st of November marked a few changes for the contingent aboard the Braveheart. It was someone’s wedding anniversary, the start of Mo-vember (see the photo from yesterday), we caught news of a favourable half time score in the World Cup final – which was mistaken for the full time score – followed by an even more favourable update for All Blacks fans later on. News is a little piece meal onboard. We also learnt late today that yesterday marked the passing of Bill Ballantine, who led a decade-long campaign to establish New Zealand’s first marine reserve in 1977. As Andrew said, we would not be diving in a marine reserve today, had it not been for the passion and persistence of Bill Ballantine and allies. We raised our glasses to Bill this evening.
Today was a day of more than half-full glasses. Dave finished up his coral surveys; we will find out in coming months how coral cover may have changed over the last 20 years around Raoul Island. Sam completed his sampling of all the weird and wonderful sponges he has sighted so far. Charlie did not disappoint (as per usual); on his dive with Brady this morning he managed to spot an interesting fish we are not quite sure about. Which soldierfish is it? If anyone has any ideas, please pipe up!
Tam and Lindsey also set themselves up for a more-than-half-full day; they headed off to South Meyer Island with the sunrise to catch the bird action. It was a good day for the Tasman masked boobies. The ‘on-shore’ team spotted boobies mating, many eggs, a few young chicks and a chick that is on the cusp of fledging. These are all signs of a healthy population. The island becomes more lively each day – the wedgetail shear waters have now joined the boobies, ternlets, noddies, sooty terns, Kermadec petrels, little shearwaters, and the Kermadec red-crowned parakeet – with a noticeably louder chorus to match! The science and film diving teams have not had the privilege of close encounters with the birds, but will look forward to the footage and photos that Tam and Lindsey have captured.
Tomorrow will be another early start. There is an awareness onboard of our impending departure and currently beautiful weather window. We are keen to make the most of our time on location and with this enjoyable bunch of people.