Balancing Ten Things
On Cayos Cochinos we wake up in the morning to the chirping of birds, lapping of waves, and tanks clanging in preparation for the morning dives. This morning we continued our research dives at Steering Wheel key. The fish surveying team comprised of Vivian and Markus continued the excellent work as they balance ten things at once and keep track of every fish crossing their path. The benthos surveyors (Diana, Trent, and myself) also were able to successfully complete their two transects, with the exception of myself, as I must work on my air consumption.
Lush with Life
For our second dive we headed to Lion’s head and were able to do a recreational dive. The reef, which was the favorite of our local dive master, was lush with life. I was glad to see a couple of yellow tail damselfish, my favorite, as I had not seen any on the other dive sites. What was particularly interesting to me was the height of the reef. While our group stayed near the bottom at 30 feet the reef stretched up 20 feet above us with small fish in every inch of the reef. We even saw life next to the reef on the sandy bottom, a site rarely seen in the Florida Keys. The local dive master was very good at pointing out to lobsters, camouflaged fish, and baby eels.
Meeting New Friends
Getting back from the dives we had a delicious lunch and were able to relax for a bit before getting back on the boat to take a tour of the local research facility. On the boat ride over we made a new friend in the form of a small gecko I named Sammy. He rode with us the entire way and was then deposited on a plant near the research facility. We then went inside the main building of the facility where different dried and jarred specimens lined the shelfs.
We learned how the Honduran Coral Reef Foundation, generally referred to simply as “The Foundation,” worked with the government to conserve the reef. The organization works as the reporters of the condition of the reefs as well as the enforcers of the laws which the government makes. The Foundation also is trying to work with locals to modify practices that are harming the reefs so that the people can enjoy them for many more years to come.