"Iokwe aolep jān Majuro"

“Hello (love) everyone from Majuro”.

First view of Majuro out the plane window

We arrived safely in the Marshall Islands today after a great week in Hawaii at the International Coral Reef Symposium.  As the wheels hit the one lane tarmac, closely straddled by the lagoon on one side and the ocean on the other, I breathed a sigh of relief.  Not only was it a bit “exciting” to land on such a narrow piece of land all but being engulfed by the water due to extensive dredging, but I was also so thankful to have arrived despite all odds.

We’ve been planning this project/trip for the last 3 years or so, and it hasn’t been an easy road.  But we fought through all of the hurdles that came our way, and we were finally making it happen. 

Until my appendix decided that it wanted out.   A week and a half before our departure date, and less than a week before my trip to Hawaii, I found myself in an emergency appendectomy.

Maybe we were trying to force the shoe to fit?  Or I had pissed off some field work gods?

One organ less and three incisions later, I found myself on the road to recovery.  The seemingly slow road to recovery.  2 weeks has never felt so long.

It may be laproscopic surgery, but these incisions were still quite sore and swollen!

Tomorrow we head to Arno, which is an outer island about 1.5 hours away by boat.  We’ll spend the next four days surveying the reef there.  But this time, I’ll have to watch from the boat.  Scuba diving definitely doesn’t fall into the category of not lifting more than 10 lbs or not soaking in standing water.  Sigh.

Hopefully I’ll be healed enough to dive by the end of the trip.  Continued healing thoughts, please!

But in the mean time, it’s a great learning experience for my new graduate student Emma Reed, who I know will do a great job surveying alongside my extremely experienced colleague.

I’ll write more when we return (must catch some zzzzs!).  But in the mean time, enjoy some pictures from our flight in!

View outside our hotel

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