The sea state was extraordinary today. We are sailing south in the Coral Triangle towards Borneo, and the ocean was so calm that it almost blended with the sky. These are perfect conditions for watching flying fish and for our visiting scientists, who are here to record marine mammal sightings. Jom Acebes is a whale biologist and conservationist from the Philippines. She is assisted on this project by conservationist Tim Gardner and by Grosvenor Teacher Fellow alumnus Suzanne Kahn. We are in the Coral Triangle. This area has the highest marine biodiversity in the world, yet there has been very little offshore research to learn about the abundance and diversity of marine mammals here. Jom told me that this voyage is a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to traverse this region, watch for marine mammals every day, and develop a preliminary model of their distribution.

We always have plenty to learn on sea days. Our first presentation of the morning came from Peter Houlihan, our National Geographic photographer, who has spent much of his career in tropical rainforests. He wowed us with photos of the diverse wildlife from this region, as well as some taken from a bird’s eye view during his tree climbing projects.

Our day ended with a beautiful scarlet sunset.