Friday, October 18, 2013

Life's a beach.

Day two of our Cayo Coco trip consisted of beach-going, scuba diving, and reliving my marine biology days.

In the morning, a group of us ventured out to a dive shop at another hotel in Cayo Coco, hopped in a little speed boat with a couple of their SCUBA instructors to lead the way, and dropped down for a wreck dive just off the shore. I won't bore you with another picture of the stunning shoreline of Cuba (haha, just kidding, yes I will!).
The lobby of the other hotel, where the dive shop was.
A wall map of Cayo Coco and some of its dive sites.
Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of our boat trip out to the dive site (didn't want to risk dropping the camera in the water!), or any underwater pictures from our dive, but this was our boat. The tide was in, and the waves were high. And really fun.

Big waves!
We boated out to the dive site about ten minutes away, and dropped down for a quick, but fun, wreck dive. The wreck was an intentionally-sunk fishing boat, which was intended to create an artificial reef where there isn't one.  So far, it's not a very developed reef, but there are a few regular fish inhabitants, and the beginnings of a few species of coral. These kinds of artifical reefs take years to grow, but I must say, it is very forward thinking for the Cuban marine conservation groups to initiate projects like this.

I managed to find a picture of our wreck dive site from the Cayo Coco dive center website!
The fishing boat at the bottom of the sea.

You can see the early formations of coral on the outside of the boat, and the different species of fish it attracts. That, my friends, is how you build a reef. Being the geek that I am, I find it refreshing to see that governments are taking an active role in protecting their oceans and marine ecosystems, which are more important than most people think. (Once a biologist, always a biologist.) Maybe one day I'll get to go back to that dive site and see how much it's grown.

Anyway, after our little SCUBA diving excursion, a group of us drove out a little ways to another beach, Playa Pilar, which, as I mentioned in one of my first posts, is probably the nicest beach I've ever seen.

The drive out to Playa Pilar from the back of a pickup.
Playa Pilar.

This is just a boring picture of a mangrove swamp...
There were some nice views along the way. Mangrove swamps GALORE. When I was in fourth grade, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, I did a research project on mangrove swamps. There was so little information in our library about them (this was before the internet came to town...) that I had a hard time writing about that particular ecosystem. To see miles of untouched mangrove swamps in Cayo Coco, Cuba was pretty incredible. The only other time I can remember seeing mangroves that extensive was when I was off of a remote island in Indonesia. And there were no flamingos in Indonesia, I might add.

The biologist in me was geeking out all day.

Ahh, Cuba.

No comments:

Post a Comment