Late last year, Terry Gosliner (our Senior Curator of Invertebrates) mentioned that since I’d recently become scuba-certified, I should join the upcoming Philippine Expedition. I jumped at the chance—as Director of Exhibits, I knew that being part of the expedition would help better inform the way my department talks to Academy visitors about research and fieldwork. I started the process of becoming a Scientific Diver in Training right away, and months later (plus close to 15 hours of flying), I’m finally about to put those new skills to work.
We landed in Manila at 4 a.m., losing a day somewhere between here and San Francisco. We collected our luggage and crates full of gear (24 pieces between six people), then headed out for the three-hour drive to expedition HQ. The roads were bustling in Manila, even at 5:00 a.m.; cars, buses, taxis, jitneys, scooters, and pedestrians were everywhere. When we finally hit the highways, the sights changed to beautiful, tropical landscape mixed with areas of intense development, both high-end and obviously struggling.
Determined to stay awake the rest of the day, we set up some of our equipment and went for a short “checkout” dive. Those of us who were new to the team focused on safety checks, while veteran divers tested equipment and procedures. By dinnertime, the whole crew was falling asleep at the table, waking up just long enough to go to bed at 8 p.m. As grateful as I am to sleep, though, I’m looking forward to getting started tomorrow!
—Scott Moran, Director of Exhibits