We have been silent for the last few days while we steam towards Raoul Island. We arrived yesterday and rushed to squeeze in two dives to do some fish counts and photography. The Braveheart crew dropped off 2 people on Raoul Island, and today we picked up 5 people who are ending their Raoul Island stint.
Over the last three weeks we have recorded over 470 species of fishes, mostly of small reef-dwelling species. There are many new records for the islands that we visited that will be published once the data has been fully analysed. I don’t really have any one favourite fish, but the one I was most looking forward to seeing again was the Fukui cardinalfish.
When I first collected this in 2011, I thought it was a new species. But some research and an opportunity to see the original type specimens used to describe the species confirmed it is the same as a species from Japan. And it has also been recorded from the Indian Ocean and possibly in French Polynesia. So it appears to be widely distributed, but the Kermadec population is the only one confirmed in the southwest Pacific region.
This will be the last blog of this voyage, as once we leave the lee of Raoul Island this evening we will be pushing into some big seas and a beam-on southeast swell. It will take nearly 3 days to reach our home port in Tauranga. I suspect I will be in my bunk for most of the rest of the voyage.
By Dr Tom Trnski