reef swim 2017

Reef Swim 2017 – What a Way to Create Awareness

Amber Edwards Featured Article, People On Our Map 0 Comments

You may have read about me joining a brave and very athletic group of swimmers during last year’s Reef Swim. We swam from the Amigo’s Del Mar Dive Shop to the reef and back. While I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and promised to do it again, this year had to be a little different. A mere swim to the reef and back would not begin to create the awareness needed to understand the importance of our World Heritage Site. After snorkelling the Barrier Reef from North to South along with Madi, this means more now than it ever did.

Luckily I have a few friends that share my passion for our Belize Barrier Reef. Kristin Marin, head of the group of activists leading the charge against offshore oil in San Pedro, was ready for reef week even before I was able to contact her. She had already printed “no to offshore oil” flags for the occasion.  The next obvious contact to make was our pioneer of reef cleanups himself, Martin John Leslie. I knew he’d be excited at the thought of having a lot more Reef Angels in the water on Reef Week.  A flyer, a few more calls for Kayaks and snorkel gear and we had ourselves a Reef Week event we could be proud of.

We had a day full of fun, education and awareness at sea! We learned the different types of trash that end up in our waters affecting the reef and the marine life that depends on it. Snorkelling the seagrass beds was an eye opener in itself, because we tend to think of sea grass as less appealing than white sand sandbars or the beautiful coral gardens of the reef. Nonetheless, it’s vital to the survival of juvenile fish and so many other marine species.

Reef Swim Volunteers

None of this would have been possible without the San Pedro Community’s help.

Big thanks to…

Wayo’s and Extreme Belize San Pedro Water Sports Rentals for loaning us Kayaks

Chuck and Robbie’s for providing snorkel gear

Everyone in the community that donated towards making the No Oil Flags

Elito Arceo, Martin John Leslie, and Javier Romero for providing support vessels

Martin John for taking on a bigger group of Reef Angels than usual

Kristin Marin for being key to making this happen in so many ways

Belize Coast Guard for escorting us and making sure we stayed safe from boat traffic

San Pedro Town Council for having the trash picked up promptly after the Reef Swim

Every single volunteer that gave up their Sunday morning for our Belize Barrier Reef

You are all Sensational Humans! With your help we were able to collect 7 kayaks full of trash on the seagrass beds between the Belize Yacht Club and Central Park! Continue to be mindful of marine trash and spread the knowledge when you can. It takes all of us together to make a difference.  This Reef Swim made a difference and San Pedro has all of you to thank!

Please share this to encourage more people to come out and help care for our Barrier Reef.  As Martin John always says “everyone should be a reef angel”.

 

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