Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thank you!

Thank you!
We all had mixed feelings getting on the plane yesterday to leave Dongsha. Fresh fruit (mangos!) and vegetables (anything actually green!) await us back in Taiwan, but we are leaving behind the friends we made on Dongsha over the past month. Excited to begin digging into all the fascinating data that we collected, a bit sad to leave the beautiful coral reefs on Dongsha. Clean showers ahead, leaving behind that strangely gratifying feeling of being covered in salt after a long day working in the ocean.

The plane ride home is also a time to reflect on the amazing success of our expedition. On a reef that is a magnet for tropical storms (including a direct hit form Tropical Storm Hagibis a couple weeks ago!), strong monsoon winds, covered with fishermen, and in most places out of site of any land, we not only deployed a series of very expensive instruments and set up a 4-story scaffolding tower, we actually recovered everything a month later. As Dr. Soong, the head of the research station on Dongsha told us as we boarded the plane, "I never would have believed it in a million years".

My buddy Aloha of the Marine National Park
Of course, our team on Dongsha is only part of the story of that success. We owe huge thanks to so many who helped along the way: Dr. Wong and his group at Academia Sinica, Dr. Soong from National Sun Yat-Sen University, the Dongsha Atoll Marine National Park, our boat captains who put up with all our requests to go everywhere around Dongsha, and all the other researchers on Dongsha who tagged along to help us find temperature loggers and set up our scaffolding tower. Thank you all!

- Tom DeCarlo
Joint Program in Oceanography
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

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