By Richard Nimmo, BV Managing Director.
I have just returned from a whistle-stop tour of Belize in which I visited all of Blue Ventures’ project partners and spent time in our host village of Sartegna and at our Expedition site in the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve.
In my time in Belize I also had the opportunity to snorkel in the marine reserve and to join a few research and training dives with our latest group of volunteers as they completed their training and began conducting data collection dives. The dives that I joined gave me a snapshot of the health of the coral reefs in the marine reserve and while our annual report is not yet finished and all the data collected by our volunteers has not yet been analysed I think that in comparison to the reefs of much of the region the reefs of Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve are healthy and fish populations relatively abundant.
It was also exciting and reassuring to see nurse sharks on dives and snorkel trips and a group of four eagle rays gliding majestically past our dive team on my last dive. I was also treated to regular sightings of Bottlenose Dolphins from our boat and expedition camp jetty and these sightings along with crocodiles patrolling the shallows near the camp jetty at night and a particularly persistent raccoon looking for a way into the kitchen for an easy meal I was spoilt with close encounters of both the marine and terrestrial kind.
The last Blue Ventures Expedition of our inaugural year in the country ended this week and after a short break for our team to analyse the results of our research from the first year in Belize we will be back in January to begin a new year in Belize. Thank you to the members of BV Belize Expedition 6 for making me feel so welcome and being so helpful in your comments and feedback.