Hello – I am Kathy Gill and I will be your expedition leader for Malaysia this year. It’s just over a week until I head out to Singapore and start preparations on board the boat that will be our home for this year’s coral reef surveys around the island of Tioman.
Having recently returned from the Maldives coral reef expedition, I am keen to find out how Malaysia’s corals have been doing in comparison, given the major bleaching event that has been occurring around the world following this year’s El Niño. Our scientist Alvin Alvin Chelliah tells me that “we have started to see recovery from bleaching, very few sites are still bleached” and further that “the purpose of the expedition is to continue our long-term reef health monitoring. The data are used by Reef Check Malaysia and the Department of Marine Parks Malaysia to monitor the health and change to reefs around Tioman. The sites selected are sites we have been monitoring since the first expedition in 2013. The information collected will also feed into the long-term five year programme we are currently running on Tioman.”
Dive sites and survey plan:
Setting out my dive gear reminds me to mention getting your gear serviced before you come and also don’t forget to bring a torch if you have one, as we hope to do a night dive during the week.
And of course, don’t forget to swot up on your Reef Check methodology (look in your dossier for hints on how to). Trust me, the more swotting you can do now, the easier you will find it once you are on the boat.
The weather over there looks to be a steady 33 degrees centigrade and the sea temperatures are in the high twenties to low thirties, so a 3 mm wetsuit should be good, but don’t discount 5 mm if you’d like the added warmth. Our dives tend to be a maximum of 18 m with a dive time of no more than 90 minutes, but we dive slow during a lot of our survey work, so you don’t necessarily generate your own warmth. Having said that, it’s an aweful lot warmer than the sea here in the UK at the moment!
I am really looking forward to meeting everyone. I’ll get a SIM card when I arrive in Singapore and will let me know my local number after that so that you can contact me in case of emergencies, such as being late for assembly.