Magical Moorea: The Stars, the Moon, and, of course, the Fish.

The past few weeks have been intense here in Moorea–tons of snorkeling, diving and science, mixed with rough seas, wet weather and sustained gale-force winds. But I’m happy to report that all of my experiments remain under control (for the time being anyway 🙂 ). And at the end of every storm in paradise, there is a rainbow:

After a stormy transit back to the research station, my assistant Julie (holding camera) and I take time to embrace the little things. This was actually a double rainbow, though the second one was too faint to see here. What does it mean?

I’ve even been fortunate enough to find a bit of time to play with my new DSLR camera (quarter-life crisis gift to myself). This thing is the real deal, and its capacity for quality photos vastly exceeds my own abilities. BUT, you have to start somewhere, right? Please check out the breathtaking beauty that is Moorea, as only timelapse photography and a fish-eye lens can capture it:

First is a night scene of the mountainous backdrop surrounding Cook’s Bay, where I currently reside at UC Berkeley’s Gump Research Station-

Second is a similar shot with a better emphasis on the Milky Way, which is often breathtakingly clear here-

I also captured Venus’ Transit across the sun last month with the help of a lot of light filters, but the end result was too underwhelming to post here (white circle with a dark dot on it…certainly nothing like this: Nonetheless, I plan to have other photography to share before the summer ends, including some underwater shots.

In closing, I wanted to provide a quick update to my last post, by sharing that we’ve had a few more run-ins with the now-infamous GoPro-loving triggerfish of Moorea. Since the initial attack was unexpectedly caught on film at one of my experiment sites, our GoPros have captured three other similar encounters. Perhaps more humorous, these encounters occurred in our vermetid X sedimentation experiment (read a description in this post), so they were captured with photos, shot every 10 seconds for 6 hours at a time. We use these photos to create time-lapsed videos that allow us to look at how our different experimental corals are dealing with the presence/absence of vermetid mucus and/or sedimentation (which we deposit daily—read more about vermetids here). So, as you may have guessed, we captured another curious (and likely hungry) triggerfish:

S/he is clearly not camera shy! Fortunately, our 5 GoPro video cameras (upon which much of our work this summer is based) remain intact, functional, and, most importantly, in our possession (as opposed to, say, that of an octopus).

Thanks for reading/watching! More soon…