Swimming with dolphins in Pez Maya
Being able to jump off the side of a boat on the way to a dive to swim with Bottlenose Dolphins has been a recent event, which stands out to me… I say recent because there are so many memories, which stick out. Among those memories are taking my first tentative breaths underwater, which is something you never really appreciate until you are able to see a reef, it seems to be a whole, new, unexplored kingdom; truly something that you’ve only ever seen on TV. This opens up a fascinating visual explosion from the different coloured corals to the patterned fishes swimming around you. This multidimensional wonderland includes what could be hiding in crevices like lobsters and Moray Eels, Stingrays skimming the sand beneath you, juvenile fish hiding amongst the corals and schools of fish hanging out above the reef.
At Pez Maya we record “Incidental Sightings” these include: Sharks, Turtles, Eels, Rays, Lion Fish and Dolphins. Seeing these organisms causes a huge amount of excitement. However what is really funny is when someone doesn’t realize that there is a Nurse Shark around until it swims directly a metre from their face. Spotting a Lion Fish floating along inspires both: awe at the spines, but also an ingrained sense of it not belonging. Due to the amazing Science team on base we all know that Lion Fish are an invasive species. I’m really looking forward to being trained to spear hunt a Lion Fish.
One of my favourite things about diving at Pez Maya is that you know who you are diving with, there is a great deal of trust and respect between everyone you dive with. You know that everyone around you has a massive amount of respect from the reefs, for everything that lives in that reef. Working your way from the initial tests, coral/ fish spots up towards the end goal of monitoring enables you to appreciate how the data you collect from monitoring helps to create an assessment of the health of the reef. Being lucky to do all this in such a beautiful environment, along with all the incredible memories you make along the way makes this project completely unforgettable.
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