Marine Reserves Necessary, Diving Hol Chan

School of grunts

School of grunts

Green moray eel

Green moray eel

Group underwater shot

Group underwater shot

Our last day dive was at Hol Chan Marine Reserve. We returned to where we first started. After practicing our diving techniques for the past two weeks, we were all way more confident than the first. The first day, the 11 of us were broken up into two groups: the newly certified and the advanced . No one was allowed to take cameras until everyone displayed their ability to dive. I was part of the newly certified group, since I had just got my open water certification the weekend before the trip. My group only ventured around the sea grass beds in the shallows, trying to avoid the channel. It was wicked cool to see all the fish and turtles swimming around, but didn’t get the full effect of the marine reserve until the last day. Before breaking off into the same groups, we all had a photo shoot. This time our cameras were allowed. I have a subscription to Dive Magazine. Within it, they post people with their magazines in exotic locations. I thought that we should get a group shot underwater to try and get our picture posted. I enjoyed the small groups a lot, because when the 11 of us are in the water together checking out the same area it tends to get claustrophobic. Constantly bumping into people is annoying, never mind getting a fin in the face. After separating and heading out, we swam through the sea grass beds and got to the channel, you were greeted by large schools of fish and a wall of corals. The walls were filled with all kinds of fish and inverts living within. The fish swam around like they knew they would not be fished there. They ranged from small to large. Marine reserves prove to be the best area to encounter the greatest percentage of marine life. There was a great deal of green moray eels, and their heads where the only things really seen during the day. Some corals had their polyps displayed, while others were not out yet. The coral polyps would be out for our night dive later on (I must add watching the corals feed on the blood worms from our flashlights was pretty sweet). There weren’t too many gorgonians, and the corals did not have too much algae cover. There really needs to be more marine reserves in the world. It is upsetting to know less than 1% of the ocean is actually protected. Reserves can help fish grow larger, stay healthier and reach greater abundance and diversity. This was definitely proven true swimming at all the different dives sites located around San Pedro. Coral sites absolutely covered in algae had little signs of inverts and far few fish. Many were small in proportion. Sometimes it takes some hands on experience to really learn and this trip was incredible to partake and learn from. The sustainability of the ocean, marine life and coral reef is necessary and all need to be aware.

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