Above: A sailboat passing the lodge in the late afternoon.
We finally got to go SCUBA diving today! Naturally, the water was the roughest and most turbid its been, but nonetheless we got to dive! Last night we got our first real rainstorm since arriving at the lodge, and the waves were likely associated with that in some way. For being the rainy season it really hasn’t rained otherwise.
The team has been spending a good amount of time discussing our research plans and trying to coordinate as best we can on the planned experiments. We’ve also been working on fish identification, as we’ll be doing transects at various sites recording species abundance as well as a suite of environmental data. There are roughly 60 species of cichlid found here alone, not to mention what we might find at other sites, and all the non-cichlid species.
One of the coolest things I’ve seen in the past few days is an eel hunting amongst the rocks, and several Lepidiolamprologus elongatus following it to catch any fish that might dart out to escape the eel. Its unclear whether this relationship is mutualistic, commensalistic, or parasitism; but it seems like the eel is getting the raw end of the deal.
We’ve managed to get in a few workouts in the mornings since arriving, each has consisted of a run and various cross-fit-esque activities led by Connie (she puts the rest of us to shame). Yesterday on my run I went to a neighboring village on the road to Mplungu. The road was really rough and hilly, and I’m confident a tall white guy awkwardly running downhill on the rocky road into town was the funniest thing everyone in the village saw all day. The route is great, from a bend near the top of the ridge you have a beautiful view of the bay, the lake, and two islands where we’ll eventually be taking samples.
The team continues to get along great, it really is a great group of people, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know them all better. We’ve also gotten to know more of the family who runs the lodge, and just like Augustine and Celestine they’re all extremely friendly and helpful.
We brought a few bottles of wine from Lusaka for Susan’s birthday a few days ago, and she stowed one away for tonight, to celebrate our first dive in Lake Tanganyika!