June 13, 2012
The Golden Shadow arrived at Puerto Villamil, on the southern end of Isabela Island, last night. It the third-largest settlement, and the largest island, in the archipelago. Today we explored shallow lagoons near the town’s docks, in particular one called Concha y Perla (Conch and Pearl), popular with tourists for its fish, curious sea lions and—good guess—its’ corals.
Today, like most days, Derek Manzello of NOAA hauled a pneumatic drill and an extra tank to power it on his dive, and he brings back bottles full of seawater back to the Golden Shadow. The drill is for taking cores to measure how fast corals are growing, like a tree core tells a tree’s growth rate. The seawater is for measuring carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. This greenhouse gas that we all exhale can also affect the health of coral reefs, and Derek is looking at how the Galapagos can help us predict the fate of corals around the world.