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Blue Hole & Lighthouse Caye

Lighthouse Reef Our Belizean adventures continued today with an hour-and-a-half boat ride further east, to Lighthouse Caye and the famous Blue Hole; a dive site popularized by marine explorer Jacques Cousteau. The Blue Hole and Lighthouse Caye are designated as World Heritage sites, both established and run by the Audubon Society of Belize. This conservation effort is largely due to the abundant population of Red-Footed Boobies and Frigate birds nesting on the island. The Blue Hole Stalactites We had the pleasure of sharing the turquoise water once again with Dr. Sylvia Earle as we descended into the Blue Hole. This dive site is just that, a circle of blue water measuring ~2.4 km (~1.5 miles) across at the surface, placed in the center of a submerged atoll, maxing out at 125 m (410 ft) in depth. …
Posted in Belize, deep search, Frigate Birds, Lighthouse Caye, marine conservation, oceanic society, Red Footed Booby, sylvia earle |

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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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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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