Mogethin! My journey began on June 14th, boarding the plane for Yap Proper a small island that is part of the Federated States of Micronesia. I am the first of hopefully many interns that will be giving their time and knowledge to this island and their beautiful blue waters. I was offered to pilot this program between my mother and the owner of Manta Ray Bay in hopes of being able to make this position a year around on-site marine specialist; Someone who will be there to inspire and teach about all the remarkable creatures hidden beneath the waves.Since being here I have logged well over 30 dives, and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. On land or in the water, I lend a hand where it’s needed. Whether its guiding or buddying up with a specific diver, I do my best to play a part. I am between boats for manta and shark site’s, I focus on getting those ID photos of each individual that passes along with mentally noting down the sex and any specific things that stood out to me. Once surfacing I immediately put those mental notes on paper while adding in details of the dive whether there was a current, temperature of the water. We like to say every bit of information is important; “no data is data”.
With the Yap Manta Project we are looking to understand the ecology of the Yap Manta Ray Population. That’s where photo IDs are very important, also logging about every dive. During my time here I am getting to know all the visitors, most are returning for a second or third time. With making those connections it gives me the chance of coming across someone who has been here before the project was started which leads to hopefully collecting data (photos). With that information we are able to look at past photos and be able to age some of our mantas, along with see the ones that have joined us over the years or ones we have lost.
Overall it has truly been a great start, enjoying the company of the amazing people here on this island, whether it’s the staff at manta ray bay that makes it feel like home or those that have known me since my first trip here I have always had a special love for this island and its waters. I look forward to gathering more data and sharing some of my experiences with you all through this blog. I can only hope one day everyone will be able to experience the treasures this place holds, on land and beneath the waves. Thank you for reading, looking forward to sharing many more of my experiences this summer through this blog. Keep looking for those updates as well as sharing any questions you may have, between the awesome marine team, volunteers and myself we will do our best to answer them.