The 1st night was very warm and damp. No wonder, at temperatures below 32°C and approx. 70 % humidity. We had mostly blue skies which gave way to scattered clouds in the afternoon. Just the same, we were all feeling great and excited about all the things we would be seeing. The anticipation of all the participants was clearly noticeable.
As it was impossible for all 70 persons to visit all the destinations at the same time, we divided into groups for the different destinations. Of course, the program was rotated every day so that each participant visited and saw the same destinations. I (Matthias) will be reporting on the adventures of Group 7, the Gobies, from my perspective from now on. I promised that we will describe every day of the trip, every destination in more detail in pictures and videos subsequently. Internet connectivity in Vietnam (56 k modem with WLAN) and the data network are not always available, or poor if they are.. After all, though, we are doing a workshop in nature and not taking a sightseeing trip. ;-)
After breakfast at 07:30 AM, we departed around 9 AM to walk from our accommodation to the harbour. Two dive boats were already waiting for us there. The focus today would be on seawater research. As soon as we finished checking the rental equipment, weights and tanks, we took off.
We took the boats to the offshore islands from where we went snorkelling and scuba diving. Impressive, breathtaking. I am at a loss of words to describe all we saw. The coral reefs are beautiful and home to many an endemic inhabitant (found nowhere else in the world). The diversity of the corals was also greater than expected. We will have to wait till after the trip to identify the different species. Drawings, along with photos and videos, will assist us when we do. That is why we are currently able to name but a few species. The divers and snorkelers remember the different snails and sea cucumbers, but also the schooling fish. Several curious cuttlefish paraded before the participants, and we discovered different species of puffer fish. Again and again, we encountered species that can be found in fish tanks back home.
We did a total of up to three dives. The non-divers explored the terrain with their snorkels. When we returned to the harbour at 5 PM, all of the participants were happy and tired from their first day and looking forward to dinner. Hai, our local partner here, is an excellent cook and had also come up with some great dishes yesterday. Now, I‘d like to give you a few results from our measurements in the ocean off the islands:
So many impressions and experiences – we need to absorb them first. I could write so much more, but it’s getting late and my stomach is starting to growl.