Frazer McGilvray is attending CI’s seascapes workshop in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. Read more reports on the meeting from our marine team.
It was a typical morning on a tropical island, miles from anywhere. Mosquito net that didn’t quite work, waves that were just a little too loud, and jetlag that woke me up at 4 am. Oh, and it was raining. Not just normal rain, but that tropical rain that makes you wet just thinking about it.
Of course, the bathroom was outside as well. Clearly even the wildlife didn’t like the rain, as a snake decided to come my way during morning ablutions, heading down its branch straight at me. “What’s my exit strategy?” I thought. Thankfully, it saw me and doubled back on itself.
One nice thing about being a marine biologist is that, apart from getting together with CI’s Marine and Seascapes teams at our fabulous annual workshop to talk about seascapes, aquaculture, buzzwords and branding, is that we get to dive from time to time. And not just normal diving in normal places, but in some of the most spectacular, but also threatened, places in the world.
Today was no exception, as we dropped into the tropical blue waters of Misool in Raja Ampat. All our old friends were there, the napoleon wrasse [Cheilinus undulatus], the blacktip reef shark [Carcharhinus melanopterus], and the most difficult to spot of all critters, the pygmy sea horse [Hippocampus bargibanti] which as it sounds, is a miniature version of its larger relatives – about the size of your pinky nail.
What a day. It’s a joy to be in paradise, but it’s a real joy to help conserve it for the people who live here. They deserve their paradise.
Frazer McGilvray is CI’s Coral Triangle Initiative Director.