It’s our second first of January in two days and a great way to start the new year. On the flight from Auckland to Rarotonga we crossed the date line for another New Year’s Eve, then today we flew to Aitutaki to join the RV Braveheart for a 4 week journey back to New Zealand.
On the way we will be visiting some remote South Pacific reefs, including Palmerston Atoll, Niue, the Va’vau group of islands in northern Tonga, southwest to the uninhabited Minerva Reefs, and a brief return to Raoul Island in the Kermadecs.
It’s great to be on the Braveheart again for another voyage of discovery. After 10 hours of steaming we are almost halfway to Palmerston Atoll and we have organised all of our gear ready to be ready for action when we reach the island tomorrow morning.
The rhythm of the rolling sea and hum of engine noise has reminded me of past voyages on the Braveheart, and i am already adapted to the routines of daily life on board this research vessel.
The goal of this project is to continue ongoing research exploring the diversity of the marine life in this South Pacific region in order to understand how the populations in the region are connected, especially to northern New Zealand. Of course there is always the chance of new species discoveries whenever we visit these remote islands.
The experienced team for this expedition includes Sally Reader from the Australian Museum in Sydney, underwater photographer Richard Robinson, Irene Middleton and me, Tom Trnski, from the Auckland Museum.
We’ll be sending daily updates of our activities and report on any exciting finds that we discover. Join us for the voyage.