Day 4 - Sailing Velella

It was yet another 6:30am start for Day 4 but that was fine because the sun was shining and TODAY I got to stay on 'Velella' (also known as the mothership!) for the whole day. There was no diving for seagrass for me today and I couldn't wait to wear something other than a wetsuit all day. Finally I could wear some of the clothes I actually packed. I was starting to think I shouldn't have bothered with my 15kg luggage allowance on Tiger Airways. I could've just worn my wetsuit, flippers and snorkel on the aeroplane instead because that's all I have worn for the last couple of days. Not that I'm complaining, it makes choosing what to wear for the day very easy.

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Today we were filming the seabed along Moreton Bay and writing down what type, and how much seagrass we could see. We did this in areas too deep to dive down to ourselves. To do this we had a Go Pro attached to a sled like thing that we threw off the boat. The sled would then land on the seabed. The Go Pro attached to the sled filmed what was down there and we could see it from a screen up on Velella. We then recorded what we saw.
 
From the underwater camera we saw lots of Halophila spinulosa, also known as Spiny Dugong Grass in the area we were sampling. And as you can guess, its one of the seagrass types that Dugongs love to eat. With so much of it around I was secretly hoping the underwater camera might catch a Dugong down there having a snack, whilst giving me a wave. Things didn’t quite work out that way but we did find plenty of nibbled seagrass, a definite sign of Dugong action in the area. 
 
The videos from the underwater cameras and the data we collected help the scientists see how healthy the different types of seagrass in Moreton Bay are. Things like mud washing into Moreton Bay from flooded rivers can make the water turbid (dirty). This mud makes it hard for the seagrass because they need nice, clear water so sunlight can reach their leaves and they can grow. Happy seagrass means happy marine life!
 
We stopped for lunch and the other two boats, Glaucus and Tender, joined us. We got to do some snorkelling over some big coral beds. The size of some of the coral was about four times as big as my head!
 
After lunch the wind picked up too much so we had to stop collecting seagrass data with the underwater Go Pro camera. This meant I got to FaceTime the Grade 5’s. I had a little trouble with hearing everyone because of the wind and waves, but I did hear a lot of laughter! I have a feeling my face was freezing on the big screen in the lecture theatre and my mouth wasn’t matching what I was saying. Always funny to watch! I got asked a lot of important questions. Douglas asked if I’d seen my favourite animal, the sea turtle. Which I managed to see on my first day, and second day AND third day. So exciting! I was also asked a lot of other important questions like what other marine life had I seen, had I seen much pollution in Moreton Bay and what had I been eating for dinner! As I said, ALL important questions!
 
As the wind had picked up in the afternoon, there was no more work to be done so we turned the boat engines off and got a lesson on how to sail Velella from our skipper Mark. He’s an excellent sailor and taught us how to hoist the mainsail and the sail at the front, which I can remember the name of….oh dear I wasn’t a very good student if I’ve forgotten that already! 
 
Wednesday SeagrassWednesday Coral 2Wednesday Velella