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GVI Marine Training kit

Please click here to access the online GVI Marine training kit

If you are coming for four weeks click
here to find the training tool that will help you learning your juvenile fish!

Study on the go! Click here for a Caribbean fish id guide application for iphones, ipads and ipods!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Good Times Continue: Full Week of Diving, Earth Day & Mahahual Comes to Pez Maya

After over a month of preparation and anticipation, Earth Day finally made its way to Pez Maya last Tuesday! Fifteen 6-12 year olds and their teachers and parents pulled up early in the morning after an hour commute from the fishing village of Punta Allen. There were a lot of familiar faces, and eyes lit up when the kids recognized the volunteers who had been teaching them English. Lluvia and her team of EMs and Staff had a full day of activities ready, beginning with an interactive presentation (in Spanish!) of the coral reefs and what they might see snorkelling in the afternoon.

Dana, Jaen, Marcela, and Sophia read their sections flawlessly, while Shayle and Liz rocked their first attempt at reading Spanish out loud (coral de fuego!). Pictures of fish and coral were pasted to a beautifully painted backdrop to illustrate the complexities of the reef, and coral reproduction was brilliantly performed by Sam, who was dressed up with a combination of sheets, a trash can and confetti. The kids were captivated (especially with cardboard cut-outs of fish and coral stuck to their heads), and were able to positively ID the different fish and coral during the review.

After the presentation, the groups split up for snorkelling, games and base tour. On the first tour, we were lucky enough to spot some Least Tern eggs, and took the opportunity to teach a little bit about how we can help the birds have a more successful reproduction cycle by fencing off the nest areas. The majority of the games revolved around turtle survival in a developing world, with turtle costumes, reef litter puzzles, and a labyrinth. After a hearty lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches and potato salad, worked on recycled art, face painting and played a little beach volleyball. The parents of Punta Allen really showed the Pez Mayans how serious volleyball is done. After a huge group photo and lots of hugs, the kids headed back home, and the Pez Mayans were exhausted; somehow we all managed 2 dives that day as well. Thanks for an incredible day Lluvia!

The Weekend
The Sacred Mayan Crossing (Travesia Sagrada Maya) was this weekend. Danny, Olly and Mo from the office represented the strength, power, and teamwork of GVI and paddled for 9 hours (really nine hours) from Xcaret to Cozumel and then back to Playa del Carmen. The Pez Mayans and the Mahahualians all met up in Playa for a weekend of getting to know each other before the base exchange at Pez Maya and to show support for team GVI.

After 7 weeks of studying up and countless spot dives, we began coral monitoring last week! Leela and Shayle were the first Pez Mayans to gather a full data set for dive site SMDR 10, and with the help of the visiting Mahahualians (coral and fish), more data will be posted this week. It’s an amazing feeling being underwater trying to collect data that will actually be used. As a coral person, you really don’t see much around you when down on a monitor dive, literally hovering inches over the reef, taking data every 25 centimetres. It’s so frustrating when a beautiful coral is mere millimetres from being under the transect line on a Point Intercept and you don’t get to record it! With the good weather, the rest of us should be out and monitoring in no time. We are getting very good at swimming very very slowly and floating upside down inches above the reef.

BTEC: If it needs doing, fixing, or anything at all…just ask Liz or Shayle
I am going to stop writing the blog, because there is a jammed tape measure I get to take apart.

Standing by 67.