Another day winding down in the South Pacific; another beautiful day with clear skies but choppy water. Today was the big hike up one of the mountains led by Dr. Niewiarowski. We left in the van right after breakfast to our starting point, a lookout over the two bays (this is where we took the picture on day 1 of the blog). The hiking was strenuous with lots of variation in altitude and the path was riddled with rocks and tree roots. The scenery along the route was enjoyable with many exotic plants, trees, and flowers. We crossed 5 or 6 small streams by carefully stepping along the protruding rocks; to the delight of many and the dismay of a few, no one fell in (although there was no shortage of soggy shoes today). Our fearless leader fearlessly led us in the wrong direction twice along the way which was humorous at first but all the backtracking led to many grumbles about exhaustion and sore legs. We stopped for a breather in a bamboo thicket where I was coaxed into climbing a bamboo shoot. The trek to the top was indeed the most strenuous activity I (and I think many of us) have done in years (we don’t get enough exercise because we are such diligent students and we’re always studying)! By the time we were back to the van everyone was dripping in sweat and excited it was over but glad they had accomplished their goal. There was much chatter about ice cream, cold drinks, and swimming on the ride back to CRIOBE. When we returned we devoured our lunch and half of us took a nap while the other half went for a snorkel. The waves were choppy because of high winds but the water has been incredibly and consistently warm throughout the week. The snorkelers saw a Pufferfish and two people lost parts of their fin straps from being knocked into coral heads in the surf. The gecko tail regeneration project continues with dosing their drugs and trying to find bugs the geckos will eat. The gecko running team finished their vertical running trials and concluded that house geckos are about 3 times as fast as the mournful geckos, which might be why they are so successful at invading their territory. The project continues tonight with horizontal speed trials. The fish group continues to run their assays on the butterfly fish we have been collecting and preliminary data should be available later tonight. It was found that the gut length of herbivorous butterfly fish is 3-4 times as long as carnivorous species. Tonight we will be doing fish printing (painting a fish and sticking it on a t-shirt) because the internet will be down as CRIOBE has a conference call with France. I think our group is bonding well and everyone has found a part of a project that they have taken charge of. Not everything has gone according to plan, the internet is lousy, and weather has complicated out projects but there’s not a more beautiful place we could be having these problems! Cheers from Moorea.