Archive for the ‘Marine Series’ Category
Lobster Fest is not officially underway, but we just wanted to to tingle your taste buds to let you know about a little of what you will be missing out of – or perhaps even taking part of!!!! The lobster is already being prepared this afternoon – the stalls set up and the preparation of lobster is ready to go …
The official Miss Lobster Fest Pageant is currently underway and photos will follow, however, we want to let you into a little secret of what will follow ….
As you can see, the Split has developed their own ‘Greasy pole’ (as yet un-greased) and locals and tourists alike have been practicing their skills for the past 24 hours (some have already perfected it!!!!). The Spilt this afternoon already had that ‘party atmosphere’ and we were there to join … were you???
Be there, or miss out …. LOBSTER FEST 2012!!!!
The Nurse Sharks of Hol Chan Marine Reserve are one of the attractions for many who sail with us on our full day sailing trip. These sleek light brown sharks are not as monstrous as they first appear. I mean it’s a very practical and natural reaction to freak out when you see these guys close up, but under the care and guidance of our tour guides the Raggamuffin guests are introduced to these “gentle” sharks. These sharks can grow up to 4 meters and weigh in at 300 lbs. They are lucky sharks as they live in the reserve and they hang in the shallows, they can rest upon the bottom in the soft turtle grass and nap all day. They often sleep in sharks piles all on top of each other.
Nurse sharks are nocturnal feeders; they eat fish, squid and octopus but will eat shellfish if it’s around. I watched a nurse shark messing around in a coral head and when I moved him away found that he was trying to get at an octopus, which I then pointed out to my snorkelling guests!
This shark can live for 25 years so most of the sharks at Hol Chan have been swimming with people their entire lives; they know we are “friends not food”.
To indentify a nurse sharks check for super long tail fin and double dorsal fins. They are light brown fish with a small under turned mouth. Layers of small serrated teeth sharp enough to do damage, and they have barbells like a catfish.
My guess is they are called Nurse Sharks because of the suction ability they have for eating. I tell my guests “they can suck yer brains out of your eyeball sockets, so don’t get kissy face with them!”
I am happy to report the return of the Spotted Seahorse!! Every year around June and July we begin to find these huge ‘sea slugs’ in the shallow waters around Caye Caulker. You see Caye Caulker is a sort of ‘Temptation Island’ for these crazy looking sea creatures. They come to find mates (note the plural) and get into little sea horse orgies where (hopefully) everybody leaves pregnant. Yeah, these guys/ girls are true hermaphrodites.
Paddling around the caye you can observe these free lovers in mating chains, 3, 4 even 5 horses, all in a line, one on top of each other and being both male and female, they can impregnate each other. After several months of this they head to deeper waters to release their spawn.
Weighing up to 1/4lb they really look like a green, naked rabbit with black circles, crossed with Shrek (they have his ears). When handled too roughly they will ink you!! Beautiful magenta colored ink that smells like iodine, it is non- toxic to humans.
If you’d like to see these lil’ sea monsters, come to Caye Caulker where you can take a kayak by yourselves or even take a guided tour through the mangroves with myself at Toucan Canoe and Kayaks!!
Oil or Tourism? That is the question and one that for most of us would be easy to answer!! However, I am sorry to say, that the Government of Belize seems to want us to believe that it is possible to have both and have been pushing through licenses without the consent of the people both onshore and offshore!!
The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage was formed back in 8th June 2010 on World Ocean’s Day and is actively looking for a ban on all oil exploration, exploitation and production in Belize’s offshore and protected areas. Furthermore they are pushing to develop legislation and policies for onshore oil exploration, exploitation and production which will enable equitable distribution of oil revenues for Belize’s national development in an environmentally safe manner. – Sounds good to you? Well we are in full support!!!
The Coalition strives, through conducting educational presentations across Belize to inform the Belize people the dangers of the oil exploration. Their second task is to gather signatures of the Belizean people to force the government into a referendum – 17,000 signatures were necessary, the Coalition states that they have currently surpassed this number but they feel the need to continue gathering.
The major hurdle for the organization is the current Goverment and indeed the Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, who unforgiving in his support for the drilling. He says that the windfall gained from the potential oil tax revenue will reduce debt and indeed be just what the country needs. He seems to care little about the threat to our environment.
We will, through this blog, continue to update you in the Coalitions endeavors to protect Belize’s environment!
With summer fast approaching the water out of the reef has warmed up and our Manatee friends have slowly made their way back to The Coral Garden at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, and we couldn’t be happier! Some of our captains had reported of a couple of random Manatee sightings a few weeks back, but within the last week these beautiful, big animals have been spotted on almost a daily bases, playing together and feeding at the end of the reef in the shallow waters.
With Manatee numbers on the decline it is such a gift to be able to observe these majestic creatures in their natural environment, and to have the opportunity to appreciate their graceful behavior while in the water with them….But having said that, because the Manatee is so endangered it is important that we do the right thing when we are snorkeling with them and make sure we are not harming them in anyway. Below are some tips to follow when swimming with Manatees:
• “Look, but don’t touch” — observe manatees from the surface of the water and at a distance
• Avoid excessive noise and splashing
• Use snorkel gear when attempting to watch manatees — the sound of scuba gear may cause them to leave the area (this won’t be an issue on Raggamuffin’s tours as we only use snorkel gear)
• Don’t feed manatees or give them water
You actually have the most to gain by remaining at a distance. By quietly observing manatees, you will get a rare opportunity to see the natural behavior of these unique animals. They will also stay in the area for a longer period of time if they are not disturbed, which works out better for everyone.
Below is an underwater video taken by Captain Patrick yesterday of two Manatees hanging out at Coral Garden, so you can have a chance to see how incredible they really are. Check it out!
So for those of you who will be embarking on one of our Full Day Sailing and Snorkeling adventures in the months to come, you have this special experience to look forward to…..one that you will never forget!!!!