By Adelaide Vawter (11 years old)
Today in Suwarrow National Park, part of the Cook Islands and one of the most remote atolls in the world, we are going on a reef walk at 9:30 am. We determined that low tide was at 10:52am with our Navionics navigation software. It is important to go at low tide because the tide pools are covered with water at high tide. It can be dangerous because of the waves and the current, so you need to know the tides. Before we leave we will prepare the things that we need, like a hat, polarized sunglasses, water, sunscreen, a dry bag, walking sticks and a camera.
As we come in with our dingy, we see a small Blacktip Reef Shark and a big reef crab. We arrive at the reef, the current is strong and you have to wade up to your knees. The rangers, John and Harry tell us that the sharks will go for you if you splash too much. So, if you see a shark coming toward you, you need to stand still and yell at it. When we arrive to the outer reef we see tide pools, there are lots of fish and flat corals of all different colors in them. The waves and the current get the fish stuck in the pools, lunch for a bird. We also see lots of gobies – small fish that eat plankton and algae off rocks. A little way down a Snowflake Eel shoots through my dad’s legs.
We also see lots of Sea Cucumbers, some are black and some are orange. I pick one up and hold it; you can see all the little feet on its underside. When it comes out of the water it more less pees out all the water it’s been holding in its body.
On the way back we spot seven Snowflake Eels and four Blacktip Reef Sharks. When we get home, we identify the species of fish and eels we saw with our Tropic Pacific Reef Fish Identification Guide by Allen, Steene, Humann and Deloach. We write them down in our species tracking notebook where we list different animals we have identified with their genus and species names. That was our reef walk in Suwarrow National Park, October 5th, 2018.