Archive for the ‘Marine Series’ Category
We have to be proud of our environmental pioneers here in Belize as they have every intention of ensuring our reef retains and indeed flourishes under their guidance! The Belize Shark Project, just one of those groups have spent the last two weeks recording data of the various sharks in the area and tagging them at the same time.
The purpose of this is to protect the ever decreasing shark population on our reef due to fishing . Sharks are apex predators that sit at or near the top of the food chain. They are vital components of healthy and functional marine ecosystems, playing key roles in structuring fish communities and fostering reef resilience.
The research enables us to understand better the habits and habitats of the sharks up in Northern Belize. With sharks maturing so slowly it is important that they all reach the age to reproduce and also ensure that their breeding grounds are not disturbed by any fishing whatsoever. The BSP has been there to educate the general public as to why they should not eat and fish shark and also lobby for additional rules and regulations to safe-guard these amazing fish.
The research areas were the Corazol bay, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and in the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve with our Nurse Sharks. The key drivers behind this project is the well regarded Rachel Graham – Marine Biologist and active Environmentalist (in fact participating on one of the outings was a gentleman writing and article on Rachel for Mens Journal), much of the Belize Dive Services staff (including Chip Petersen the owner) and Hllmar.
The work is time consuming and expensive but our marine environmental warriors continually strive to protect what arguably is Belize’s jewel in her crown – thank you to all concerned!!
Dolphin sightings are fairly common, meaning if you go out on boats regularly you are very likely to see dolphins on a regular but by no means daily basis. So when between Sunday to Monday an increased number of dolphins were sighted in front and around of Caye Caulker, it has some of us scratching our head to question our good luck!!
As I said, between Sunday to Monday there were at least 8 different sightings of different size pod groups of Bottlenose Dolphins directly in front of Caye Caulker. On Monday, when the activity seemed to be at its peak, the dolphin activity was very much in front of the two water taxi docks and therefore did not require even a boat to see these beautiful creatures! Pod groups varied from 15 or so dolphins to as small as family units (mother, father and baby). We did question as to whether it was all the same pod that had broken itself down into smaller groups – a possibility but not always common as they normally travel together.
Numbers of tour boats, from Ras Creek, to Anwar Tours, E-Z Boy and even the San Pedro boats stopped to allow their passengers to follow these playful creatures – all just in front of us on Caye Caulker.
The reasoning behind the activity and our good fortune is not clear – was it the opening of conch season (a favorite food source of the dolphins) – perhaps the fisherman cleaning some of their conch on the way home to the island left a scent in in the water or some particular spawning going on in front of Caye Caulker. We are left bewildered but extremely happy at their presence and wish that whatever the reason for their activity, it bring them back again to spend time with us!!
Once again our fly fishing guides put our tiny island on the international map!! This weekend the 4th annual Tres Pescados was held in Ambergris Caye – this tournament is where the fly fishing elite from Belize and around the world join forces to both gather data on the fishing area and also raise funds for local charities.
The idea of the tournament is to test both the fisherman and the Guides as each team of 3, comprises of a Guide and 2 Fisherman – together they must bring home and have weighed their best size and amount of fly fishing’s grand slam fish – Permit, Tarpon and Bonefish. Each year Caye Caulker brothers Parnell (Fly Treks) and Ken Coc (Anglers Abroad) compete for the fun of the sport, for the pride of Caye Caulker and of course, the title!!
The past two years Ken Coc has dominated the competition by his team winning and also being crowned as the Lead Guide in the competitions. This year it was his brother’s turn to light up the pride of Caye Caulker as Parnell came in second with Ken coming a close 4th.
With pride we must congratulate our Coc brothers as once again they did us proud. With this win sending a clear message (once again) to those who are interested in the sport of fly fishing , that Caye Caulker is indeed the island to be for competitive prices and quality guiding!!!
Yes, it is here, the official Shark Week 12th – 19th August celebrated by the Discovery Channel. And, although they are mainly celebrating the sharks on the opposite end of the spectrum with regard to fear ie the Great White, our Nurse Sharks deserve a little applause too and so we are here to give them a big hand!!
Both the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve have varying numbers of resident Nurse Sharks. These non- agressive members of the Shark family serve an educational purpose to all of those persons who have been terrified to get into the water since ‘Jaws’ first came out, proving that not all Sharks are going to tear your head off!!
Shark week will be on the Discovery Channel for the rest of the week so for those wanting to learn more about how we can protect our apex predator and therefore protect our marine environment. Or perhaps you just want to terrify yourselves or even just admire the prowess of these magical creatures in the water – whatever the reason, it will be interesting!!
It is no ‘old wives tale’ that after a storm, the fish find a safe harbor to feed and the Split here in Caye Caulker is a well renowned spot where they come in abundance to nourish themselves. Therefore yesterday there was a rather unusual spectacle at the Split as local fishermen, guides and various onlookers joined in the fishing bonanza!!
By the afternoon the sky had clouded over and it was almost strange to see instead of sunbathers, fisherman lined up on the sea wall to get their chance at taking home dinner. Red Snappers were biting all yesterday and in fact, locals believe that they still will be there today.
Good and even inexperienced fisherman were walking away from the Split with at least 3 or 4 good size snappers – just in time for their better halves to throw in the pot to cook for supper!!
Back on the 2nd July our own Hol Chan Marine Reserve celebrated it’s 25th birthday!! The marine world is struggling at the moment with the news of oil spills and decline in health of the reef but here in Belize, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve is a beacon of hope for all of those invested in the marine world.
The Hol Chan Marine Reseve was created 25 years ago through a combination of Government and World Wildlife Conservation Society – the intentions: for education for both the public and particularly conservationists to study the reef in Belize and internationally!
To this day we at Raggamuffin have to thank those involved for the beauty that they have sustained and in so many ways created in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve – as it is this that makes Belize so very unique on the international map!!
For the full article in National Geographic click here.
It is not a common sight to see a 4ft crocodile being carried on somebodies back through the streets of Caye Caulker but yesterday many of us did!! Onlookers were amazed that the croc was so big and yet seemingly so docile in the arms of Ricardo Alcala (Piojo).
Ricardo captured him on Saturday night after he found it terrorizing his dog behind his house. He has encountered many crocodiles (both smaller and larger) in this same area and captured them all. Once caught he tapes up their mouth and (rightly or wrongly) keeps the reptiles a few days and then sets them free, back in to the seas but away this time from residential properties where they can do harm and come to harm.
Whether he is right or wrong to keep the crocodile, that is not up for debate – what we are at least happy about is that the croc ends up back where he belongs as for so many of these creatures in Belize, they end up as food or even somebodies purse!!
Yes, can you believe it but yesterday at Hol Chan, Captain Kevin and a group of G Adventure snorkelers found a turtle covered in oil and saved its life!!
The group were out snorkeling in the Channel with Captain Kevin being their guide, when they came upon the motionless turtle. The turtle initially looked dead and covered in black oil that surrounded it but when they lifted out of the water and away from the oil the turtle looked to try and gasp for air. Kevin removed the excess oil from its mouth and quickly summoned the attention of the Marine Park Rangers who quickly took the injured turtle back to San Pedro to be treated!!
Initially all concerned, including Rangers felt that the turtle had traveled some miles with the oil as this had been an isolated incident that day and there were no reported oil spills around San Pedro that day. However, the day was far from over!!
Only minutes after the turtle was saves, continuing with their snorkeling of the Reserve the same group encountered yet another patch of oil and this time snorkeler Alexandra Bagge from the UK managed to tangle herself in the heavily sticky black liquid!! Enough was enough and the extremely good humored group made their way back home and commenced on the intensive job of trying to get the oil out of Alexandra’s hair (gasoline and huge amount of shampoo) right outside the Raggamuffin office – everybody was involved as Madai and Adela drove poor Alexandra to the clinic to try and save her hair!!
We are happy to say that Alexandra’s hair is looking as good as ever and experience is now quite a story to tell her friends!!
The Hol Chan office reported this morning that the turtle is doing better than yesterday – he is under strict observation and they are hoping that he continues to improve and can be set back into the reserve as soon as possible. They are very much looking into the cause of the oil as there is no drilling here in Belize and as mentioned, there were no reported oil spills from boats. What is a small possibility is that there can often be natural oil spills from a location called Rocky Point – all of these are being looked into to avoid this unusual incident from happening again!!
Keep up the good work Hol Chan Marine Reserve staff!!
It began on Friday with one of the most tightly contested Miss Lobster Fests in history and the rest of the weekend did not disappoint too!! Congratulations again to Miss Sylvia Joseph – she was definitely Raggamuffin’s favorite choice and I believe the island too. However, it must be said, in any given other year, any one of the other contestants could have been the winner!!!!
The turnout was enormous .. the streets from Friday onwards were teaming with those wanting fun and of course lobster and we were all rewarded with both!! After the very successful pageant on Friday night, contestants and the audience dance did not end until 4am. And again on Saturday, the big bash, the party did not finish until 5am!!!
The atmosphere was electric for the entire weekend, everybody was out to enjoy the music and the energy that this annual celebration creates. The Split also (as usual) had their say and provided additional entertainment for the weekend. Many of the night time revelers nursing their hangover with yet another beer or similar during the day – not forgetting their very memorable greasy pole hanging out on to the water causing much attention!!
This is the one time of the year that the lights are really upon Caye Caulker as San Pedro and Placencia had already had their Lobster Fest last weekend. We shone, we did ourselves proud in true Caye Caulker style – bashment – for anyone that wanted to celebrate with us!!
Thank you, thank you and thank you again to the Caye Caulker Lobster Fest committee – each year just keeps getting better – our expectations for 2013 are high!!