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Thursday
Aug172017

Manatees And Diving: A Busy Week In Caye  Caulker

This week we welcome four new volunteers to the project. Two of them were here to work on our Manatee Conservation Programme and two came for the Marine Conservation and Diving. This means that we spent a lot of time in the water, and a lot of time on the boat. Thankfully, the weather was really good all week and we were able to go to the reef with our volunteers. We spent time teaching them about the corals, fish and the sea grass species we find here. The first week is also the occasion to train this new knowledge by going to the reef for snorkelling and diving. We were lucky this week to spot 2 turtles and one rare reef shark! We also saw the usual nurse sharks and stingrays at Shark and Ray alley.

Every day, we also took the boat to conduct manatee searches. This activity demands a lot of patience as we would spend a lot of time standing still on the boat waiting to spot a small manatee nose in the water. Luckily, after a few days, we finally saw them! 2 manatees were eating sea grass just in front of the island and we were able to see their shape in the water. This is a very important sighting as manatee season hadn’t started yet and it means manatees might arrive early this year. Our manatee conservation volunteers spent the rest of their time studying sea grass, collecting samples and surveying the different species of sea grass we find here. This will help us understand why manatees like the area and to assess the quality of their habitat.

On Friday, three volunteers decided go to the blue hole for a day trip with one of the local dive shops. The blue hole is very famous in Belize as it is a very unique geological formation caused by the collapse of an ancient underwater cave. During a day trip you would usually do three dives around the blue hole and also explore some other well preserved reefs of Belize. Our volunteers were really happy with their excursion and to take some well-deserved time off the project.

Next week, science training will continue until volunteers are able to identify all the species of fish and corals so that they can conduct proper surveying of the marine reserve.

By Doryan Givel - Belize Project Coordinator

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