A special hello to the classes at Freeman’s Bay from everyone on the boat and thanks for your great questions on our last blog post.

Matt the skipper just had a look at the electronic chart up on the bridge and worked out that we have travelled exactly 200 nautical miles since leaving Tauranga. We are currently anchored on the west side of Motukawanui Island, which is the biggest island in the Cavalli group. We are staying here for the day, and having a shake-down dive at lunchtime (we haven’t got wet yet, but we’ll be wet soon!). We won’t be collecting any fish on that dive, but we hope to collect some seaweed for Wendy and some “spineless critters” AKA invertebrates as well. We are still too far south for coral, but there will be sponges, worms, urchins, snails and lots of other stuff.

The sea is still flat and calm – which is great: no one has felt seasick!

We’ve answered more of your questions below but I also wanted to share a really exciting and unexpected find for the team – they spotted a pod of orcas. Here’s a photo but you can see more on our blog post from earlier today.

We spotted a pod of more than 10 orca whales - here are a few of them swimming past the Cavalli Islands
We spotted a pod of more than 10 orca whales – here are a few of them swimming past the Cavalli Islands

Our delicious dinner last night was cooked by Charlie the cook, and it was tuna, which the crew of the Braveheart had caught the last time they were in the Pacific Ocean. The Braveheart regularly visits Pitcairn Island (which is famous for being the place where the mutineers from the Bounty ended up), and on the way there and back from New Zealand they pass a tiny bunch of rocks in the middle of the ocean called Marotiri rocks. It’s a good spot for fishing for big open ocean fish like tuna, and they put some in the freezer to share with us.

We've already celebrated a birthday onboard - Severine's birthday today meant chocolate cake for everyone!
We’ve already celebrated a birthday onboard – Severine’s birthday today meant chocolate cake for everyone!

Also last night we had a big chocolate cake! It was Severine’s birthday, and Tom and her partner Nick had snuck away while we were in Tauranga and bought a delicious cake for a birthday surprise – complete with candles! It was so big and rich we couldn’t eat it all, so there’s some left over for morning tea today.

The flying fish we have seen have all been flying on their own, but sometimes you see two or three flying fish take off from the same place, so we think they’re hanging around in small groups. Malcolm says that in the tropics they go around in big groups and when they are distrubed by a boat you might see a whole lot of them take off together. We have seen flying fish this morning as well – their wings look quite blue and they can fly an amazing long way.

We haven’t seen any other fish yet, but we’ll have some fish sightings to share with you once we’re back from our dive.
Tom hasn’t decided which island we’ll dive at first when we get to the Three Kings – I think we’ll get there, and see where the swell is coming from and where the wind is coming from, and then choose a nice sheltered dive site with not too much strong current.

One more thing we thought you might like is these videos we shot today – here’s Tom explaining how catfood and glo-sticks made it into our luggage for the expedition:

And here’s the crew getting some of the equipment ready – it’s not exactly what you would expect!

Thanks again for following us on our expedition. We hope we’ll have lots more exciting finds to share with you soon. Don’t forget if you’ve got some science-based questions that you think only our scientists can help you with, post them here.

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2 Responses to “A special update for the students at Freeman’s Bay”

  1. Anne's Class

    How important is seaweed to the fish and to our planet? Can fish eat it?
    Can fish get sunburn?
    How many fish do you estimate live around the Three Kings Islands?

    Hope your food continues to be delicious
    Take care!

    • Melanie

      Those are great questions – our experts have spent the day diving and sorting the day’s finds but when you get to school tomorrow there should be some answers waiting for you.


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