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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Shipwreck visit in Punta Gruesa!

It had been a period of consistently bad weather which forced us to spend nine days out of the water. At first this was a welcome break from the, sometimes, long and draining days we had become used to on base but soon it became a real drag. To help ease the frustration, the wonderful PG staff organised a day trip away from base.

We ordered two collectivos which were driven 18km North along an increasingly narrow and bumpy road. The journey began to feel like an adventure as we were treated to a glimpse of how dense and overgrown the mangrove forest can be. At a seemingly unrecognisable point, two GVI staff leaped out of the lead taxi and shot down a narrow path to the side, returning to inform us that we were at our destination.

The collectivos drove out onto a deserted beach. About 150m out from the shore you could see the rusting hull of an old ship. We wasted little time in donning our snorkel gear and headed out to explore the shipwreck. Amongst our first impressions were how different the lagoon fauna and flora were to where we usually dive. There were different varieties of coral present and they grew much larger and in unfamiliar forms. The same can be said for the fish; there was a difference in numbers and species present. All of us thoroughly enjoyed trying and testing out our coral and fish knowledge which we had developed over the past eight weeks and all of us learnt or saw something new that day. The best of the sightings included a large green moray eel, an octopus, a sharptail eel, close encounters with inquisitive barracuda and a snapshot of the damage that Hurricane Dean caused to the Elkhorn coral, which is amongst the largest, most impressive and most fragile corals found in the area.

Lunch and a sleepy ride home saw us delivered back to base just in time before the rain set in again, only this time with big smiles on our faces.