Days in Kalike always ended up with the sound of wave harmonically hitting up the beach in the South of Solor, such a good lullaby. It’s already 1 week I spend my time here in Kalike Village, southern part of Solor. The first day I came here, there’s a lot of things that amazed me. Two of which are the view and the weather that real too nice for the coastal area. Kalike’s people are the mountaineer, they are seldom go to the sea for fishing. They are basically a farmer. This topographical condition is pretty unique to me. Mountain and ocean in one tangibility, such a good combination.
I’m here to join a research project of megafauna distribution around Solor Channel. Fortunately, I’m one of the lucky persons who get a chance to do this project. I’m really excited that I have this opportunity to getting a deeper understanding about the ocean, to expand my horizon, and to contribute my self to the development of marine resource management through this research.
Doing this research activity is a brand new experience to me, because I have to do field observation 24 days/month, within 3 months. However, I allowed taking several days to have days-off. Taufik, Iqbal, Sarah and I are the research team. Every single day, we start sailing on 8 ‘oclock in the morning, bring our research kits such as GPS, camera, binocular, plankton net, sampling bottle, log book and megafauna module. Mainly, what do we do is Rapid Ecological Assessment (REA) and double-platform visual observation which is investigate the megafauna distribution such as whale, manta, and dolphin that appear around the Savu Sea and we make an identification of the species by sighting and snorkeling/diving if its necessary. We record the location of the megafauna appearance by GPS and then later we could make a model of habitat from those data. We already found several kinds of megafauna which are ocean sunfishes, ocean turtle, mobula and especially dolphins since we have found approximately 1.300 dolphins already! Too much, right? :D. That's how rich Savu Sea is, guys.
Besides megafauna observation, we conducted plankton sampling as well, as we need that to do megafauna’s habitat modeling. Plankton is one of the key factors from the food chain of megafauna, megafauna is likely appeared in a place that has so much plankton abundance. The sampling conducts on the stations sampling that distributed well around the Savu Sea. Taufik deploys the sampling kit and I records the field data of Species ID, approx number of marine megafauna, behavior, GPS location of survey and encounter, weather condition, time survey, and time sighting on the log book. Team is work well together, right. Iqbal and Sarah are my supervisors, they indeed help me and give us a bunch of knowledge about ocean system and marine megafauna behavior.
I really enjoy this research and it feels really great when I’m lucky enough to found a megafauna just like what we experienced this week. I hope next week and later we can found other megafauna such as whale, shark and manta as well.