We woke up to another very rainy morning, the ground thoroughly soaked with the downpour we had last night. Still we were full of energy as it was our last day to complete the surveys inside and outside Natokalau’s tabu area.
Unfortunately, one of the hazards of working in remote locations is that boats break down, or in our case, would not start.

Large branching Porites colony in Ovalau Lagoon. Image by Sangeeta Mangubhai

Large branching Porites colony in Ovalau Lagoon. Image by Sangeeta Mangubhai

So with much frustration Waisea, one of our longest employed staff from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), made a quick dash to Levuka to find a battery for the boat. There were no batteries to be found and so the village kindly lent us one of their boats.

Patch reefs in Ovalau Lagoon. Image by Sangeeta Mangubhai

Patch reefs in Ovalau Lagoon. Image by Sangeeta Mangubhai

Unfortunately for me, the boat was small and weight-restricted (not that I am saying I am heavy!!), so the boys headed out on their own to do the final surveys. It was a long cold day for them, with little respite between
rainstorms. But the work got done and they returned with tired smiles. For Jordan Goetze this means that his field work is now officially over, and he has a year ahead of him analysing his data and writing up his PhD thesis. For us at WCS, it means we need to start turning the science into guidelines that local communities can use to make decisions about their tabu areas.

Soft coral in Ovalau Lagoon. Image by Sangeeta Mangubhai

Soft coral in Ovalau Lagoon. Image by Sangeeta Mangubhai

I would like to end my last blog for this trip with some underwater images of the reefs in Ovalau to give you a little peak into what lies beneath the water. And I end this blog with a promise that I will be back again to work more closely with these inspiring communities to help them find solutions to improving the state of their reefs and the fisheries they are so dependent on.