October 19, 2010

Biosphere Expeditions Update from Oman

Here’s the latest update from the first of two expeditions in Oman this year:

11 October
The team has been studying hard as Rita takes them through their Reef Check
training. Connie and Suse have been great sounding boards for others about
how the expedition went last year and their own experiences. A few of us
were talking about the chances of seeing dolphins and then 2 popped up and
rode the bow wave and smiled for everyone to take some great pictures.
Everyone is full of laughs and can’t wait to get in the water tomorrow.

12 October
The end of day 2 and everyone has at least 1 star next to their name for
Reef Check. A BIG well done to everyone. The in-water test helped everyone
understand just what it’s like to collect data with snapper by the dozen,
groupers a little shy but they’ll be out soon. The Angelina Jolie of fish
(sweetlips) hasn’t shown herself to many, but fingers are crossed for
tomorrow. Diadema urchins are everywhere and we even had a few baby sharks
enjoying the Sinabad’s night lights.  We had another 2 dolphins show us
their grasefull agility today, so I think its only fair for next year, that
we include dolphin spotting. Tomorrow we start the real reef Checks and its
all hands on deck.

13 October

3 reef check surveys completed today and 2 of the HSBC staff, Mo and Hilal,
have teamed up and are treating each dive like they’ve done it 100 times.
The guys have been so quick, they often have to sit back and relax while the
team in front moves along. The day ended with some card games and you really
find out who is competitive when there are chocolates up for grabs.

14 October

Today was certainly the turning point when it comes to embarrassing moments.
Suse couldn’t understand why her camera wasn’t working until she realised
she put it in up side down.  Rita had to do some serious mask clearing after
Jon popped in front of her with a marker peg on his nose.  Good thing the
data was collected!  Mel, diving with her new great computer, finished her
checks early because she thought the computer was telling her she had 3
minutes bottom time remaining when in fact it was telling her to do a 3
minute safety stop.  I think she just wanted to be first to the shower.

15 October

The final 3 surveys have been completed and we’re on our way to a nice
secluded area for the night.  The Musandam landscape has been breathtaking
and cameras have been working overtime.  In a tradition which started last
year Suse was woken with cold water today!  That joke just doesn’t wear out.
Mel and Chun are keen to do a night dive today and then the night will
finish with another round of cards.  Australia v UK v Portugal v Italy v
Switzerland.  Note to next week’s group, the Portuguese are very

16 October
Final day and half the team had a snorkeling session this morning, whilst
the other half had a tour of Khasab Castle and some of its surrounding
areas.  The team has worked really well during the week and a big pat on the
back is deserved by everyone.  Most of the first group is now back in Dubai
while Rita, Connie, Karin and Georgie are minding the MS Sinbad to ensure
it’s totally ready for group two who starts tomorrow.  A special thanks goes
to Rita and Jon for their support this week and making the team feel like a
well-oiled machine. Just dont play cards with Rita and we’ll all be fine 🙂