20 April 2009
Order of the day was an early morning group picture of the rangers with manager Angelique and WWF expedition visitors Alya, Yogi & I. After breakfast, we photographed WWF ranger Choy and TMO ranger Manny diving a coral reef near the station. They monitored through transects the health of the reef. In this dive, a manta passed by and glided through a school of jacks!
After lunch we went back to gathering COTS. It was a war zone out there. These hungry creatures decimated huge portions of the reef in the lagoon.
The inner lagoon, which is off limits to tourists, was absolutely stunning in the shallow white sands. Healthy staghorn corals were in Jurassic proportions. Every one of us had so much anger for these murderous COTS that Angelique had a battle cry “Let’s get rid of their race!”
After three hours of relentless stabbing and gathering, 1,422 COTS were taken out of the waters. We visited a private yacht later in the afternoon where we met old friends and made new ones.
Since we infected everyone with our COTS fervor, by the end of the night, Angelique had a pledge from the boat owner Ed Mijares of 6000 Philippine pesos for 3,000 COTS the rangers are able to gather the next day! The whole group from the boat also planned to join in.