July 2012 - Survey update

The survey team from the University of the South Pacific (USP) was able to be here on the Island for nearly a week, and were joined in by service retreatants Roger Tonkin, Grace Cameron, and Marco Tellier, who provided invaluable help in the process. With help from Island management, retreat staff, and members of Naitauba's Fijian staff, and with use of a newly-refurbished punt provided by Island manageement for their use, the team quickly set about their work.

The survey team with participating retreatants and Island residents.

Using Scuba equipment outside the reef and snorkeling in the shallower waters inside the reef, they made systematic and detailed observations at sites all around the Island. I was fortunate to be able to join them in this rare opportunity to see so much of the reef, swimming and snorkeling with the team both inside and outside the reef as they made their way around the Island. Team members also looked at inland areas and facilities on the Island that have the potential to affect conditions on the reef.

On the eve of their departure, the team made a wonderful presentation to Ashram residents and retreatants about their time here, showing many beautiful photos, summarizing their preliminary findings and expressing their gratitude for the opportunity to visit Naitauba. Then they went to Ciqomi and gave a similar presentation to a gathering in the big bure there. It was a wonderful time, deeply appreciated by all of us who participated.