Lionfish have been spotted in the Caribbean in 2004, since then it has proliferated and are harming the local species (70+ including fishes, invertebrate, shrimps) by praying on them.
They reproduce at a very fast pace and have almost no predators.
To avoid the disappearance of the variety of the marine life here, humans can be the top of the food chain and hunt them and help keeping the balance of the ecosystem.
Today, I had my training with Corinda at the Pietermaai dive centre and caught that very big lionfish. Part of the training is to prepare the fish in avoiding the 18 poisonous spines.
We’ll be driving around in this.
It’s quite big, I hope it will fit all the roads we would like to take.
And our first evening on the beach and an ουζο, just next to Corinth.
Life is so hard!
We have to take a plane. Again.
Today we handle the husbandry aspect of the restoration process. Linda starts by cutting some of the coral that are grown enough.
Barbara and I then tie the new bits of coral with filaments and hang them back in the tree. With proper care and conditions, the new fragments will grow by 1cm per month. Outside a nursery condition, the growth is much slower and estimated at 1cm per year.
On our way back, I spot a moray eel under the rock.
In the afternoon, we will implant some corals back to initiate a new reef. But before that, we make a quick detour to see a seahorse.
After Linda has selected some of the coral that are fit to be implanted, Barbara and I start preparing the rock very accurately on the chosen spot to fit the coral.
Once the coral is stable by itself on the set area, we will fix it firmly with an epoxy resin to ensure a firm attachment that it is not getting displaced by the current or by anything else.
Linda checks every single coral have been properly placed and the work we’ve done is thorough.
The new implementation site is marked for reference. Thanks a lot for this great experience, I will share it and participate as much as I can.
Starting my Coral Restoration specialty with Linda (Wanna
Dive) at the Eden Beach.
We start with a bit of snorkeling around the deck, there are a lot of different fishes around here, and they’re not scared. It’s almost like we could cuddle with them.
The coral trees are just a few meters off the shore at around 4 meters deep. Before getting there, I spotted few blennies (I love those guys) so couldn’t resist a quick picture.
The trees require to be cleaned with brushes and pads, and some remove some unwanted fire coral in order to leave the nutriments for the Staghorn and Elkhorn corals that re grown here. It’s quite a work, in about an hour I manage to clean approximately one third of a tree as it requires delicate and thorough cleaning.
On our way back, a scorpionfish hiding under a rock caught my eye.
We left the beach as the sun was setting.
The mangrove in Bonaire is part of the protected area and it is formally restricted to enter it without a guide. The ecosystem here is so fragile that any disturbance can be fatal and without proper explanation and guidance, you can cause a lot of destruction by ignorance.
Today I got to visit the mangrove in a canoe. I was quite interested to find out how trees can grow in salted water. The Bonaire mangrove has three different types of tree, but the one that we see in the bay are the red mangrove tree.
The mangrove has three main roles:
- It’s a giant nursery where all sort of species come to lay eggs and have their progeny to grow in a more protected environment.
- It filters the water coming from the land and stops the dirt to get into the sea.
- It protects the coast from the waves and possible tsunamis.
The channels are mostly natural and are there to allow the water to circulate with the twice daily tides. It’s really noticeable when you swim in one of them and you can feel that you have to make quite an effort and you can just drift your way back.
There are not only fishes but also all sorts of birds, the most visible one being the flamingos, but two types of heron nest here as well.