We are underway again, pulling away from the wharf after completing repairs, heading south to Tinian. We have been commuting to Tinian in the small boats, about an hour each way. Conditions have been very calm, allowing for a pleasant ride between islands.
My fish species list has been reset from Pagan (total around 270 species), and over the last two days I have been hard at “work” filming and accounting for the fish species of Tinian. Yesterday, we did a combination of SCUBA in the morning, and towing to record turtles in the afternoon. I towed behind the turtle team looking for fish (as well as any turtles that may have been missed), and had great luck seeing fish in a variety of habitats, that would have been challenging to get to on this dive trip. The majority of our team’s work is focused on a relatively small area, in shallow water, which will make for a challenge to get to the same variety of habitats that we had in Pagan.
So far, we are seeing a small shift in species present here in Tinian, that we didn’t encounter in Pagan. I would be interested to see a comprehensive list of all fish species from each of the Mariana islands including Guam to see what species appear and disappear based on the latitude change, similar to the questions we are asking about the Northwest Hawaiian islands.
Tinian has a very protective coastline – small seacliffs with jagged coral limestone cover the coast. There are a few pocket beaches interrupting the cliffs, where a few turtles navigate the breakers and shallow reef flats to nest. Small buses bring tourists to look at the sand and blowholes, but not swim. Tinian has a hotel/casino, but relies on small planes and boats to bring tourists over from Saipan – the island economy is very small and life seems slow with few options. During World War II, Tinian served as a major airfield supporting the bombing campaign against Japan, including launching the B-29 Enola Gay in August of 1945.