Expedition update: Osprey Reef

We had an early start today, compensating for the heavy winds that made loading of the tender extra tricky and slowed down our travel time to the reef sites. Although launching SVII in extremely choppy water can be a nerve-wracking affair, today we managed to do it efficiently and surveyed all the sites we needed to do. In comparison to the southwestern reefs we surveyed yesterday - vertical walls, with corals growing at extensive depths - the reefs in the northwest of Osprey were more sloping and had a sandy plateau around 20m depth before dropping off. Overall, branching and plating hard corals as well as soft corals dominated the reefs. There were also impressive colonies of Fire Coral that protruded much higher than other corals, forming these intense lattice structures. The reefs had many narrow channels cutting through it, giving access to the lagoon. As we crossed each of the channels, we were met by warm water that was draining from the lagoon and also we saw a gathering of reef fish on the inside of the channel. At one of these entrances, there was a school of six reef sharks and a few of them appeared intrigued by the scooters as they came in close for a look.