To maintain and promote the quality of nature we must work at it. We must educate our children about respecting the wild. We must show by example how to live free and in balance. We... must first be at balance.
We have a small generator that we run about 6 hours a day just for the freezers and washing machine. For the other 18 hours we rely upon the battery bank charged by the solar panels. When the generator is off we must unplug the equipment that will drain the battery bank quickly, like the freezer. Alex, the station manager, said that he has two wind generators in storage that we need to put up. Hopefully I can learn how to install one of these groovy gadgets.
Beneath the toilets is a giant Clivus composter. Once you do your job you throw in wood chips and the little natural composters comsume the waste.
Although it's the rainy season I haven't seen rain once and it's important to not use our limited water supply which is kept in giant black rain barrels attached to the roofs of the station buildings.
After I ate a few pieces of pineapple and took the above photos they asked me if I wanted to go out to check the cages the have placed on the reef as an experiment. The parrot fish is a herbivore fish that consusmes algae and coral and algae are in competition for sunlight. By placing cage ontop the algae formations the fish cannot eat it. They are trying to examine the relationships between coral and algae competition with out the parrot fish variable. If parrot fish are being endangered in these parts then algae may overtake the coral in terms of sunlight capture. Predators are needed to keep ecosystems intact and the main goal of this study will be to look indirectly at the parrot fish population by looking at the status of the foods the eat. If there algae food is overgrown then the fish haven't been doing their job or the fish are no longer there.
I'm not certified to dive yet but I can still snorkle. Later I just took off my gear and swam natural. It's a blessing to be in a warm ocean after Alaska where the water was 42 degrees. There's something about being underwater... feels like home. Many tribes from around the world believe that our animal race once originated from the oceans. I feel it. Even if we came from outerspace (panspermia hyopthesis) we still would have had to incubate in water somewhere.
After an hour of underwater dreaming it was time for us to leave our mooring and go grab the divers.
When we got back Alex and his father were packing up another boat getting ready to go catch a male stingray. Alex has caught and tagged 5 stingrays so far, but all have been female. He's attempting to look at sex variation and movement among the ray population. It's a full moon and I propose that maybe the male rays are like male sloths, very introverted drifters that reproduce according to the lunar cycle. In Costa Rica we would often see female 3-toed sloths with their babes, but no males because the males were always migrating from one 'nest' to another every month to mate duing the full moon. I could be way off but why is that we see so many females and very few males? The females are very large and have a darker skin, thus easy to see against the light sand at the seafloor. The males are a bit smaller, faster, and have a lighter skin, which makes it really hard to see and follow.
As I type the team is doing this. I can hear them on the walky talky talking about, 'is it a male?', 'is it a female?', 'guys there's a barracuda over there.' Yetserday I went out with them and took turns doing the ray spotting. I stood on the bow and held on tight as I pointed to the direction of the ray. I spotted about 10 rays and two of them were male. Once we think we spot a male from the boat one person jumps in with a mask on and tries to see if it's male or female for sure. Every one we thought was male darted away when the person jumped in and they were smart because they'd hide in the sand next to the green patches. Even if we followed them they'd eventually vanish out of sight. If we were to spot a male we could catch, both boats would line up parallel with a net in between them and they'd catch it. Then the ray would be brought on board and Alex would tag it with a device that can be tracked by sonar. It's movements would be monitored and compared to female activity.
They dropped me off to get lunch ready for them... toasted ham steaks with grilled pineapple and white cheese sandwiches, guac, nachos, carrots, celery, and watermelon. Below is our solar panels.
In my room (grabbing my cookbook) there are a few conservation posters on the wall. In fact, I think every room has some sort of education poster on the wall. Every corner you turn you learn something.
After lunch I started working on a three layered cheesecake. Sugar cookie crust, the first layer was rum and coffee bean, the 2nd layer vanilla, and the third layer was creamy chocolate.
My work station
Oh it's only 90 degrees with the oven off and probably 95 with the oven on. The last kitchen I worked at just 5 days ago in Alaska averaged 65.
For dinner... salad, mac n cheese n chip casserole, fries, and buffalo wings with habanero sauce. The Belizeans asked me what country is my food from... I told them the world. They are excited to have new flavours igniting their tastebuds. Dis be a global cuisine I carry with me... a global sustainable cuisine since all the ingredients come from local farmers that take care of their land. The folks from UK, Arizona, and Venezuela love the new tastes and the cheesecake topped off the dinner. It's as if these people have been starving for the last few months with beans and rice. But, don't get me wrong I love the nutitional value of beans and rice. Good food = good vibe = good research. The cap'n and I talked deep about our lives on da boat while the divers were down at the seafloor. He tells me I talk the talk, and I walk the walk. We both are passionate about what we do. He tells me when his father died he was given an instinctual GPS and he's right... I saw him find things 25 feet under water just from his gut. Cap'n loves his boating, and I love my cooking. I can put together something from nothing and he tells me that's a magic. I smiled... yes cap'n cookin' is a magic just like your 6th sense of direction is magic.