At Sea towards Mo’orea

May 09, 2018 - National Geographic Orion

Today we sail away from the uninhabited coral atolls of Kiribati, destined for civilization in French Polynesia. The seas are quite calm and the sun is shining as we settle in for a day of presentations and the humbling vastness of a blue horizon in every direction. To kickstart the day, Naturalist Martin Cohen shares his knowledge about the particularly useful coconut plant, it’s history in the area, and it’s many uses. Later in the morning, National Geographic Photographer Sisse Brimberg shares her adventures working with National Geographic on assignments and intimate details about her family. Sisse recounted the day she received a letter that she knew would change her life forever—an invitation to become an intern with the National Geographic Society. While this radically changed the trajectory of Sisse’s career, she concomitantly has changed the creative content within the visually asphyxiating pages of National Geographic Magazine.

In the afternoon, the menagerie of snorkel gear was returned and sanitized, until next time. Naturalist Cristiana Damiano shared her passion for sharks, sharks, and sharks! As one of the more charismatic highlights of this marine focused trip, seeing abundant sharks can be indicative of a healthy reef. Cristiana gave us all a closer look at the species throughout Polynesia, their unique biology, and conservation efforts to help save these gorgeous animals. Fish are friends, not just fins! Following Cristiana’s talk, we were in for a profound perspective, learning about local Kiribati culture and insights from our Kiribati officials and our Naturalist Lucho Verdesoto.

An additional treat added to a rich day with a gourmet dinner, each course more delicious than the last, and afterwards our bridge team turned out the bow’s lights for a spectacular display of the South Pacific’s stars. Expedition Leader Adam Cropp pointed out a few constellations of note with his neon green laser pointer as we gazed in awe at the dazzling sky.

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About the Author

Caitlyn Webster

Undersea Specialist

Caitlyn grew up entranced by the sea. She first became SCUBA certified while in high school in southern California and found her true passion diving and studying marine life. After graduating from Cal Poly State University: San Luis Obispo with a degree in Biological Sciences and a concentration in Marine Science and Fisheries, she began her career in research diving operations and logistics. Through different universities and various opportunities, Caitlyn has been fortunate enough to travel to particularly remote parts of the world, sharing her enthusiasm for exploring the seas and marine conservation.

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