Hello. What a massive first day!

We were up and on the boat by about 6:45am! As we motored out to our first site we all happily engulfed our muesli and toast.

                                                                  Kitchen on Vellela   Vellela

When we got to site 1, we all got our snorkelling gear on and did a quick snorkelling and boat entry/exit test. All the other teachers and citizen scientists totally geared up in full on 5mm + wetsuits! I couldn't believe it, the water was like 21 degrees! So I jumped in my board shorts. It was just magic, the water is fairly clear (2-3m visibility) and so nice and warm. Getting out was definitely the hardest part.

                                    Island and water    Mark driving boat

For the rest of day, my little group of five (3 other teachers and our Skipper Mark from the Queensland Uni), we mapped and sampled the various habitats around the central eastern region of Moreton Bay. We found a mix of sand, rock and some stunning seagrass meadows.

The equipment we used was really cool. There was a live feed camera and a go pro mounted on a little submarine frame. We lowered this down from the back of the boat periodically. At each site we would record the latitude and longitude of the site, so we could transfer this data onto some GIS maps later tonight. We would also record the type of sediment (sand, rocks, coral, shells etc.), the species of seagrass present and how what the percentage of cover was.

Sled

This data is being collected so the Moreton Bay Marine Program managers will at the end of the year have a complete map of the various habitat types throughout the Bay. This is a really critical first step in managing this amazing area. Once we know what is currently there we can start making informed conclusions identifying the impacts of the various land uses of the Brisbane and Logan Catchments. With this knowledge local councils and state governments can start to make better management decisions and hopefully reduce the negative impacts that are currently occurring.

Whilst we got a fair bit of work done, we also had time for a pretty awesome lunch time snorkel around Myora Springs which is a freshwater spring that feeds into the Bay. Please make sure you google this place and particularly the indigenous heritage of the area, I have been really awestruck by their heritage and culture that is so evident here.

So tonight we will be analysing the data collected by our group and the other two groups, its exhausting but seriously cool stuff.

Cant wait to get back and share this stuff with you all.

Next update tomorrow morning!

Cheers Mr O