Catherine Burgess - Madagascar 2004
Catherine Burgess, a doctoral student from Cambridge University, joined us as a research volunteer in May 2004.
We started earlier this morning, we had to kit up at 6.30am before breakfast then ate before we got on the boat. We went back to Nosy Fasi but in slightly deeper water so it was our first Open Water Dive. It was good but visibility wasn’t great [note – having dived after the storms and in the UK I realise that actually visibility was great, just not totally stunning as it was the previous day:-)]. We were a bit short of time as we had got distracted by a pod of dolphins on the way out (at least 3) that came fairly close to the boat, we jumped in to swim with them but they weren’t interested – hopefully we will see them again. The dive was good (surprised that falling backwards off the boat is so easy!) we did some skills work and then got to swim round and look at the huge numbers of incredibly coloured fish, I tried not to think about the fact that I have to be able to ID them all. Then when the second group dived I snorkelled for a while then sat in the boat to warm up. Then we came back for some fish ID study and Will, Katy, Eileen and I went to the octopus station to weigh the octopus that were caught (BV are trying to work out how much of the catch is sexually mature). Katy and I came back for lunch leaving Will and Eileen to the slimy task of weighing octopus but we saved them some food and Greg and Katy went back afterwards and let them eat! Lunch was a huge whole fish with rice and beans – we couldn’t ID the fish :-).
After lunch we kitted up to dive again then had a lecture on benthic ecology before we got back into wetsuits and on the boat. We went back to Nosy Fasi but we all went together this time with Will helping Dan keep us together. The visibility was getting worse but we swam for a while and saw some really cool fish (I can even ID a few now) then did some more neutral buoyancy work (fin pivots are definitely much more successful than sitting cross-legged which just results in me looking like a beetle on it’s back with my tank on the bottom and legs in the air – very funny but not very useful!). We did a couple more skills then an alternate air source ascent.