It is so crazy to look at a map and see where I am – in the middle of the Pacific Ocean surrounded by thousands of miles of deep blue. Just the way I like it!
My first month in Hawaii has been wild, literally! Snorkeling with sea turtles, sailing with dolphins, watching insanely large parrotfish chomp away at coral and hanging with my favorite reef triggerfish, also known as the Humuhumunukunukuapua`a – Hawaii’s state fish.
The Conservation International (CI) office is located right next to Koko Head Crater, Hanauma bay – one of Hawaii’s beautiful marine state parks and conveniently, a delicious shave ice shop (apparently our president agrees!)
My first few weeks in the office have been spent reading everything I can get my hands on and outlining an approach to show how industries can benefit economically from engaging in seascapes – large scale, comprehensive and integrated marine planning. My work focuses on the Coral Triangle, more specifically the Bird’s Head Seascape and the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape. Reading/writing breaks are spent web searching images of both places and daydreaming about the trip I might one day be lucky enough to take there.
A few weeks ago managed to duck out of the office for an afternoon to check out the University of Hawaii at Manoa and attend a lecture on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. It’s tragic to see the state of the reef but inspiring to listen to people who are committing their time and energy to look for practical solutions to regenerate and save it.
Speaking of coral reefs – in celebration of the International Coral Reef Symposium held in Honolulu a few weeks ago, a staff member hosted a Luau featuring CI’s new virtual reality film Valen’s Reef and carnitas from an invasive wild board hunted and prepared by CI staff!
It was also a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world – Turks and Caicos, Canada, Australia, Italy, England (to name a few) – and geek out over our mutual love for fish and coral!
And of course, what better way to celebrate the end of every work day than with a Pacific sunset?
I’m excited to see what the next weeks have to offer!