Reef and Fishery Assessment of Navassa Island National Wildlife Refuge

On April 23, 2009 scientists from the NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Miami Florida (SEFSC) departed from San Juan, Puerto Rico aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster. Their destination: the Navassa National Wildlife Refuge. Along with the NOAA scientists are researchers from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (UM/RSMAS), the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the Director of the Fondation pour la Protection de la Biodiversité Marine (FoProBiM), an NGO based in Haiti.
This work is funded by the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Its always the weather

Tuesday morning finds us with 5-6 ft swells, similar to yesterday, but with a significant wind kicked up. We all gathered on deck this morning after a noisy and bumpy night. It seemed clear that small boat (and hence, diving) ops were not a safe option for now. The conditions yesterday were marginal for getting in and out of the small boats since we have to climb up/down a 'Jacobs ladder' while the small boat is bouncing beside the ship. We had a few bumps and buises yesterday so for now we are standing by. It also seems unlikely that the Haitian fishermen will be venturing accross in these conditions.

To a large extent the success of one's efforts, no matter how carefully planned and prepared, is beyond one's control, at the whim of the weather. This is a major aspect of being a field scientist that is very much like farming. On a long, remote trip such as this one, the risk is even greater that the productive work can get completely blown out. Nearer to home, we are usually huddled around a weather radio, wondering if/when conditions might improve. In a remote place such as Navassa, the resolution of the weather forecasts is not very informative, so we are mostly just waiting and hoping for calmer conditions.
Photo Abel Valdivia

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