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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Reefs’ lurid miniature creatures

Thursday morning last week was bittersweet.  We said goodbye to our friends of the last four and eight weeks.  But Saturday morning we welcomed five new people into our little piece of paradise and it already feels like we’ve known them for months instead of a week.

We are all relying on each other a lot more now that there a fewer volunteers on base.  But it’s great knowing everything runs as smoothly as it did before and everybody is still getting two dives a day unless a thunderstorm comes and spoils our fun.  It is the hurricane season after all and we are thanking our lucky stars that there are none of those on the horizon.

A lot of the reefs’ lurid miniature creatures have been making appearances this week.  Little gold-spotted moray eels poking their heads out of corals.  Nudibranchs, lots of nudies.  Burrfish.  Flamingo tongues clinging to gorgonians.  Teeny tiny ‘over-dressed’ gaudy clown crabs.  The reef reveals its greatest treasures to those who slow down and have a really proper look.

That has to be one of the most rewarding things about working hard on the science training we do here.  Before I came to Pez Maya, I used to think the best dives were the dives where I saw the big things.  Turtles, sharks, moray eels – naturally dolphins were the pinnacle.  Of course, these beautiful creatures still rank high on my list of underwater loves.  But looking at the corals and then, even closer, between the corals to see how tiny the nudibranch really is and how many lobsters, crabs, and little fish build their world on the coral bed..  I now have the ability to look at a coral bommy and see an ecosystem in action and that is something totally unexpected and amazing that I will take away from Pez Maya.