The last Friday of the January phase dawned clear and bright. There was an atmosphere of
excitement on base as it was a day of fun-dives. It was the first time we were allowed to dive in groups without a staff member, this proved to be interesting. Some dives were more successful than others, but everyone enjoyed themselves immensely.
We used the long weekend to take a trip up to the North of the Yucatan Peninsula, to visit a town known as Valladolid, a beautiful colonial Spanish town and the famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza! However, the highlight of everyone’s day was visiting Cenote Samula an absolutely breath-taking cavern, where we snorkelled and had our feet cleaned by the fish that inhabit it. Unfortunately, we had to say a fond farewell to Inca, Pem, Remo and Roger, who were all heading off to various parts of the world. Also many thanks to Willem for a great month, it is such a shame you had to go back to England, we miss you already! On a happier note, 5 new volunteers have arrived and are settling
into life on base.
Due to the wind, we have had only a few dives this week. Much of our time has been spent building
a new compost pit which is hot hot work!! The wind has meant there has been a lot of studying time so all the volunteers are progressing with their knowledge of Corals and Fish, and in the water many getting 100% on the spots. Hopefully we will soon begin monitoring.
Over the past week many Lionfish have been sighted on the reef, they are extremely beautiful fish. However, they are not good for reef biodiversity as they are an invasive species, with no known natural predators. They are also vivacious hunters, reproducing rapidly. One of the ways in which the
population explosion is being controlled is by spear fishing. On Friday alone seven were caught and
on dissection their stomach contents were found to contain a variety of unlucky fish and shrimps!! By removing even a small percentage of Lionfish from the reef we will be giving other species a better chance of survival.
A tricycle has been brought for the recycling center at Punta Allen, so they can transport the recycling around easier. The Interns who did not go to Punta Allen had to partake in a swim test, which involved swimming 400m against the current and waves. Considering the challenging conditions everyone did extremely well making it easily within the time limit, although a lot of salt water was consumed.