Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Day in Paradise

Staying back on base in Mkwiro this morning made my day a little bit different to the usual dolphin and snorkel surveys out on Bardan; our loveable research boat. Although I started slightly disappointed to stay back, it turned into a great day. After the rest of the volunteers left, it was down to business. We spent the morning learning about and identifying the beautiful and diverse reef fish in the area. It was fantastic to begin recognising and putting a name to so many of these colourful fish from the snorkeling that I have been doing. This is a new research focus GVI is undertaking, with the support of Kenya Wildlife Service, to catalogue the fish found in the Marine Park by Kisite Island and the Marine Reserve around the Mpungunti Islands, and compare these findings to determine the success of the KMMPA. Experiencing the reefs both in the areas within and outside of the Marine Park, I can clearly see a significant difference in the size of the fish between regulated and none regulated areas. After having seen many Unicorn fish, rightly named from their horn that sticks out of their head, I was surprised when in the Marine Park on Monday we saw Unicorn fish that were at least three times the size of those in other areas. So it is very exciting to know that soon we will be able to formally report this data and show the success of the Marine Park beyond local anecdotes of “I once saw a fish THIS big.”

------Unicorn Fish-------

As we were doing our Reef fish identifications the rain began to beat down on the thatched roof of our Banda. It is the beginning of the rainy season, and although it doesn’t rain very often yet, when it does - it pours. The wind picked up and a cool breeze passed across the island, which sparked the need for some warm Chai and “Nice” biscuits for dunking. Sitting in the Banda, with the I-pod going, the rain cooling us off and the chai keeping us warm, I suddenly thought about the group that was still out on Bardan. But just as the guilt set in, we heard the soggy footsteps of our comrades walk up the now muddy path. Although dripping from the down pour, we were greeted with huge smiles. They had managed to take lots of new photos for the reef fish catalogue and enjoyed snorkeling in the rain! Now that they were home and happy, they joined us in the Banda for some chai, tunes, and cards while listening to the rain beat down on the island. All in all…a great day.

----A picture from our base after the rain----