Tuesday, 02 September 2008

Looking back

Made it back to the office after having departed from the ship at Toalanaro. A task not made easy with the rough seas. Still recovering from the long shifts, standing, sorting and taking samples from fish. Good to see that the new crew did not suffer as much from seasickness as we did, wish them good luck with the weather on the rest of their trip.

Looking back at the trip, I have to say that I learned a lot with collecting water samples for oxygen, nutrient, chlorophyll a and phytoplankton analysing, but probably missing working with the fish and the diversity of fish species the most. Our region is clearly in need of a fully updated fish book(s) and especially keys to help in the identification of the weird and wonderful creatures from below. An electronic key would even be better.

I only had an opportunity to get a brief glimpse of the diversity that the wonderful island of Madagascar holds. Unfortunately I have to say that almost all of what I saw looked almost as if it had been bottom trawled! Still frustratingly few bird species and none of them from the endemic families of Madagascar. But for those of you onboard, here is a teaser of what you are missing out on. In total we saw five species of lemurs, interesting creatures indeed. Although it is in the dry season there were also some of the botanical gems of the island to be seen here and there.

Thanks to those that were on the cruise with me, it was a great time, enjoy the rest of the trip!!


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