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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dolphins, Lionfish and Wetsuit Racks…

The gang at Pez Maya grew in numbers by one this, when we adopted a new mascot in the form of a Sooty Tern. Surfacing at the end of a dive, Esther discovered the little fellow perched upon her marker buoy. After the divers had got into the boat, the bird decided he didn’t want to miss out on all the fun and so sat himself on the side. Nicknamed Pete by Rhu, he stayed with us for the whole journey home, not at all phased by the copious amounts of attention he was receiving. After we anchored back at base, Pete had to relocate when we disembarked. However, instead of using the free ride back to land to head into the trees, he chose a different destination. Anchored just 10 meters away was our other boat, Vision, where Pete took up position for the rest of the day. He was only persuaded to go to dry land when we had to beach both boats, and very reluctantly flew off. Sooty Terns disperse out to sea after breeding season, which is perhaps why we found him there - he hasn’t been seen since, but is hopefully still flying around. He wasn’t the only exciting sighting
this week - those aboard Vision on Monday were ecstatic to come across a pod of about 7 dolphins! To the envy of those on the other end of the radio, they jumped in and snorkelled with them, while boat captain Rhu was especially pleased: now he has proof that there are definitely dolphins living by Pez Maya…

We’ve also seen some good underwater action this week too. Two Caribbean sting rays sitting together on the sand as well as two Loggerheads mating were all spotted. We’ve noticed plenty of Lionfish swimming around during our diving, prompting Ben and Maura to whip out their spear guns. Maura’s catch, whilst a baby, turned out to have an entire, intact juvenile fish inside its stomach, eaten just minutes before she caught it. Ben found a 23 centimetre male on Friday, which he speared and bagged on camera, much to the delight of the 5 watching volunteers.

Strong winds and the odd rainstorm have meant we’ve been battling currents and surge to continue 
our diving. Several volunteers have compiled data for Coral Watch, Dov has continued to monitor

fish species and Emma and Sissie have begun their Advanced Open Water. When the weather kept
us grounded on base, the boys took up the challenge of rebuilding the flattened wetsuit rack. After digging holes in the sand they tied together poles of wood, created a palm-tree-leaf roof and proudly erected a pirate flag (which Captain Jim Sparrow tried unsuccessfully to nick for his boat). ‘The rack’ will even have its own hand-painted sign by next week. We were delighted to discover after a particularly rainy night that the wetsuits and rash vests hanging up on the rack had remained dry!

The girls chose the less arduous task of deciding to brush up on their dance skills, in preparation for the weekend. Sissie attempted to teach Joma some Zumba (which he turned out to be fairly skilled at already), while Joma helped Jemima master Salsa in the early hours of Sunday morning. The weekend turned out to be thoroughly educational - earlier during Saturday evening Joma taught 
some marine science to a couple of little children he knew from Tulum. Sitting in a beach camp, he brought out his Fish Species book and gave them a tutorial on what lives in and around the reef. Only 5 years old, but already trilingual, the little girl was thrilled to learn the different names and look at the pictures of all the fish, many of which she recognised. Her brother was equally happy and both protested when it was bedtime. Perhaps next week we’ll take along a coral book and show them more of what we find here at Pez May, spreading the GVI love up the coastline!