Monthly Archives: January 2010

Turneffe Atoll with Her Deepness

The changing of the guard went smoothly with the arrival of Sadie and the departure of John. Needless to say we were sorry to see John go. In the last 48 hours Kip and Sadie have been busy with interviews, capturing the hustle and bust of life in Belize City, and exploring the diverse critters of Turneffe Atoll.

On Saturday afternoon Sylvia Earle, Kip and Sadie headed out to Turneffe Atoll, about 45min east of Belize City by boat. We were accompanied by a group of divers visiting the Oceanic Society and Blackbird Caye Resort; all masterminded by Birgit Winning, the Oceanic Society’s fearless leader, president and one of Turneffe’s biggest advocates. Through the Oceanic Society, guests are invited to spend their vacation learning about Turneffe Atoll and assisting with current research projects.…

Posted in Belize, deep search, marine conservation, oceanic society, sylvia earle, Turneffe Atoll |

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Belmopan Adventure

Leaving Ambergris Caye on Wednesday, we hung up our dive gear for a few days and dedicated Thursday and Friday to meeting with the people here who set policy, do the science and ultimately will decide the fate of Belize’s natural areas. Our first order of business, though, was to pick up our fearless leader, Dr. Sylvia Earle, who had just flown in from Paris and the premiere of the new film by renowned filmmaker Jacques Perrin, Ocean.

We were ably hosted by the Nature Conservancy’s Alejandro Martinez, who drove us to the landlocked capitol of Belmopan for the launch of the University of Belize’s new Environmental Research Institute (ERI). Dr. Earle joined Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega and ERI’s dynamic duo—Institute Science Directors Dr.…

Posted in Belize, Marine Protection, nature conservancy, oceanic society, sylvia earle, university of belize |

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Hol Chan Habitats

Today was dedicated to the habitats of Hol Chan Marine Reserve. We began with an early dive among the mangrove forests that provide a nursery to most of the fish and invertebrate species that make up the barrier reef ecosystem. Snorkeling silently through a shallow mangrove creek, we spied snappers, angelfish, grunts, shrimps and a solitary batfish, whose pectoral fins act like tiny arms as he scoots along the nutrient-rich muddy bottom.

Mangroves are extremely important to the health of tropical ecosystems, serving many critical functions. In addition to their role as a breeding ground for reef species, they provide shelter to juveniles of many species, protect shorelines from storm surge and erosion, and filter sediments and nutrients from the land that would otherwise harm the reef.…

Posted in Belize, coral, deep search, diving, dolphins, groupers, hol chan, Marine Protection, sylvia earle, turtles |

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Reef Splendors

A full and fascinating day of diving at three distinctly different sites here on the fringing barrier reef of Belize’s Ambergris Caye.
Our first dive was to Esmeralda, a reef cut in the outer barrier reef that drops precipitously to over 30 meters (100 ft). We worked our way across a colorful, healthy reef and followed deep sand channels at 25 meters (80 ft), encountering curious nurse sharks and fearless black groupers.
On our next dive we descended into the San Pedro Canyons, sharp fissures in the reef that drop away ever deeper—to 50 meters or more (165 ft). There, we spotted an inquisitive Green Moray eel and were surrounded by more nurse sharks and big groupers (at one point, we counted 12).…

Posted in ambergris caye, conservation, deep search, hol chan, Marine Protection, mission blue, MPA, sylvia earle |


Turtle Races

Saturday was dedicated to conservation in Belize, both land and sea. The day began with an early morning interview with Anna Hoare, Belize Audubon Society’s dedicated executive director. Her passion for Belize’s natural wonders was inspiring, and as she talked, we learned that the conservation movement here faces many challenges and has scored some impressive successes.
For example, Anna informed us that Belize has thus far protected ‘only 14%’ of its marine areas—still far from its goal of 20%. Only 14%? If the rest of the world were as conscientious as Belize, our life-giving ocean would be 1400% better protected! Belize Audubon is one of those NGOs that are quietly making a difference, and we hope everyone who reads this will check them out and consider a gift of support:…

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Crooked Tree – Birding Paradise

Belize is a blessed with millions of birds—of the sea, shore and land—and today we got to experience multitudes of them at Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. Situated in Northern Belize, about 20 miles inland and an hour north of Belize City, the Sanctuary is reached via a long, narrow causeway that leads to a tiny village at its center. We’d been told it was a very safe place to visit—but one look at the abandoned police station convinced us that crime must be a thing of the past!
Created in 1984, the Sanctuary is home or highway to literally millions of migratory and resident birds: herons, ospreys, kites, hawks, vultures, kingfishers, egrets, swallows, ducks, jacanas, lemkins and a host of other species.…

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Bountiful, Beautiful Belize

Deep Search Expedition #3 is now underway. Team members Kip and John arrived this morning in Belize to begin filming and researching the natural habitats of this unique Central American nation, as well as to meet a number of Belizeans who are working hard to preserve its vital, fragile environment. Next week, Dr. Sylvia Earle arrives to speak at the launch of the University of Belize’s Environmental Research Institute’s new facility in the capital city of Belmopan. Later, Sylvia and the team will join our energetic conservation partner Birgit Winning of the Oceanic Society for a trip to Blackbird Cay, the Society’s newest PMPA (Private Marine Protected Area) project.

Our mission over the next two weeks will be to highlight the efforts of the people, NGOs and government leaders who are working to preserve the rich, diverse ocean environment off Belize’s shores.…

Posted in Altun Ha, Belize, Crooked Tree, deep search, sylvia earle |

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Wear Blue in Support of the Ocean

Today, Charlotte Vick & Sadie Waddington, of the Deep Search Foundation Outreach team,  joining ocean activists across the country in a visible demonstration of support for a strong National Ocean Policy.

Rallies and Wear Blue for Oceans events where held in 11 U.S. cities. In San Francisco, Jackie Dragon, of Pacific Environment, and her team organized a spirited and colorful rally on the steps of City Hall complete with demonstrators dressed as turtles, a shark and a seal.  Blue marbles passed from hand to hand through the crowd as a gentle reminder to live like we love this blue ocean planet. Check out to see our blue action, coast to coast.

The highlights of the event were captured by David McGuire of Sea Stewards, on film.…

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