Yesterday we pulled into Maro Reef. At Maro there is no emergent land and it is a matrix of shallow reef systems, making it difficult to navigate. Maro is also the largest coral reef in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands with about 746 square miles of reef. Previous visitors had warned me that Maro can be cloudy and murky and yesterday it was no different. Even with the murk we had a bit hectic, but very successful day on the water.
Yesterday we had to share one of the small boats with another team so we only had a half a day to get a days worth of work completed. However, we have team “A” between the three of us and our great coxswains and were able to get three full dives in before lunch! Maro is a priority site for the “Holy Holes Project” (yes, we totally just went there…). We are on the quest to find the Holiest Hole in the reef, which we have aptly named “The Chosen One”, to put nearly $100K worth of instruments inside it to measure flow dynamics. Oscar’s research is quite multifaceted: we are surveying the hole distribution on a reef, taking nutrient water samples inside and outside the holes, conducting rhodamine experiments inside the holes, collecting biological samples inside and outside of holes, profiling holes with an ADV, doing video transects, determining the fractal dimension using rugosity chains (really its just reef jewelry), and deploying several different types of sensors and instruments. Reef jewelery made by Luke Wakeen.
We completed the majority of those tasks yesterday morning and will finish the rest with a full day of diving tomorrow. With all the above data, Oscar will be able to produce a really neat model on how reef complexity affects water exchange on coral reefs.