Part 3 from my photo journal with Ocean Exploration Trust’s E/V Nautilus; conducting deep sea research with a bunch of rad humans and technology to discover the undiscovered around my home waters, and the National Marine Sanctuaries of American Samoa.

July to August 2019.

Our ROV dives at Swains island were cut short because the weather was starting to turn. 

The swells grew and winds picked up speed. The ROVs were recovered, and our expedition leader and ship captain made the decision to sail overnight towards the leeward side of the Manu’a islands to continue our dives there.

Woke up to this view of Ta’u island, taken from the monkey deck.

The science teams were shuffling around to create a new dive plan. Meanwhile, work continued with live telepresence communications.

A really cool unique thing about the Nautilus is their live telepresence outreach capabilities. Not only are the dives broadcasted 24/7 to the public online at nautiluslive.org, we were also able to connect with people all over the world on a more personal level. Led by science communications fellows, we engaged with classrooms, museums, auditoriums, summer school groups, a university in the Azores, and of course with our very own communities back home who tuned in at the Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center. 

 Because of the time difference, we had to schedule these telepresence interactions at all hours of the day.

This one wasn’t too bad at 6:00 am local time… me and Samantha Wishnak, the Nautilus‘ Communications Manager.

(Funny side note: turns out that Sam and Ian share the same friend groups in California, like they’re best friends are the same people! This reminded me that despite how vast the ocean is, this marine science community is close knit and interconnected.)

The rugged mountainscape of Ofu and Olosega islands, connected by a bridge.

We had quite a bit of downtime between ROV dives and transiting from location to location, so a good group of us passed the time watching movies, reading, and playing card games. I taught them how to play Samoan suipi, and camp, and it was honestly so fun hanging out like this, disconnected yet connected at the same time.

Re-deployed the ROVs Hercules and Argus, and kept our fingers crossed for a long and interesting dive.

Here’s our expedition lead, Dr. Christopher Roman, manning the robot arm that lifts the Hercules for deployment and retrievals.

After one of the many dives, here’s the crew retrieving Argus and Hercules yet again.

In the wet lab with data logger leader, Suna.

We celebrated her birthday out at sea with cake and some of the crew made a crown of copper wiring for her to dawn.

The wet lab is also broadcasted live via nautiluslive.org when geological and biological samples are collected and taken in to be preserved and prepared to be sent to scientists for analysis. Scientists all over the world can request specific samples for research. This allows experts in various fields to share their knowledge and inform what we find.

Back in the control van for my last dive watch from 12:00 am to 4:00 am with the best shift of #BenthicBuddies (in my biased opinion, lol). Our crew includes: Hanae (co-lead scientist), me (AS scientist), Peyton (data logger), Anthony (video engineer), Brian (science communications fellow),  Lily (navigator), Summer (ROV Argus pilot), and Scott (ROV Hercules pilot).

You can check out the rest of the Nautilus crew (and read our bios) from the American Samoa expedition here: https://nautiluslive.org/cruise/na112


Auckland Travel Journal

Auckland Travel Journal

Three days of misadventures in Auckland, New Zealand.

Flying into New Zealand.

I forget it’s made up of a bunch of islands. And it’s so green.

Accidentally booked our AirBnB for next month instead of this month, so we first devoured a hot bowl of ramen from Tanpopo restaurant, where we got on the nearby McDonald’s free WiFi, and booked another last minute AirBnB.

This was in the elevator of the second AirBnB.

Walking around the harbor, and Ian of course headed straight for the sailboats.

We spent the rest of our first afternoon here coveting these sailboats.

And talked about how excited we were to be going on a sailing adventure in Tahiti next week.

The sun set early so we walked through the bustling city, ate sushi, bought some snacks, got back to our AirBnB, got cozy, and fell asleep while watching Isn’t It Romantic on Netflix. 

Light and view outside the window the next morning.

Hey fiyonceMy bedder half. I love you a latte.

In bed pre-caffeine, and later coffee and brunch at Sierra Cafe.

Didn’t visit the Sky Tower this time around, even though the last time we went we had the best meal with Rick and Polly.

But it really gives the cityscape pizzazz, so I can’t not take a photo of it.

Freeze frame while at a red light, waiting to cross.

Taking the scenic route back to our place.

Where: Albert Park.

Why: These crazy tree trunks.

Met up with friends from back home who recently relocated to New Zealand.

Lauren and Gideon came over with their perfect little creation, baby Codie. It was my first time meeting her after her departure from the womb. And I must say, she’s one of the prettiest babies ever. Just look at her sweet face.

Lauren grew up in Auckland so she took us to see the sights. First off, Mt. Eden.

It was so cute seeing Ian walking baby Codie in her pram.

Ian and Gideon at the top.

The huge green crater.

Is it just me or are pigeons chubbier in New Zealand? They look so well-fed.

Aw, love this beautiful little family!

Next stop, Mission Bay beach.

Lauren convinced us to take this cute photo by the fountain.

It is really cute actually lol

Beautiful mother daughter moments. Lauren and Codie.

Our last day in NZ was mostly relaxing, walking around the city again, and packing up again for our flight to Tahiti the next morning.

Until next time!


Snorkeling at To’aga Beach – Part 1

Snorkeling at To’aga Beach – Part 1

The underwater marine life in Ofu is just beyondddd!

I have amassed quite a few photos of fish and coral during our 2 weeks in Ofu. I’m constantly dazed and amazed at To’aga beach and the National Park of American Samoa on Ofu island.

Here’s part 1 of snorkeling photos.

(View more underwater photos here)

I’m still trying to ID all the different fish and coral, so if you know any of these, please let me know in the comments below!

fire coral

Strongylura incisa – needlefish

Oxymanacanthus longirostris

fire coral of some sort

Acanthurus triostegus / Acanthurs guttatus

Chrysyptera taupou

Porites coral

Acanthurus triostegus – convict tang

Porites coral

Acanthurus nigricans / Acanthurus nigroris / Ctenochaetus striatus / Halichoeres hortulanus

Acanthurus guttatus / acanthurus striatus / 

christmas tree worm 

fire coral

Acanthurus triostegus – convict tang


Chlorurus frontalis

Porites cylindrica??