Virgin Hearts, Playa Del Carmen, March 2017 –
Last weekend saw out 2nd Lionfish Control Event take place on a bigger scale. This time out we had the help of some great people. A lot of people consider themselves environmentalists and “active protectors” but most of the time they don’t even pick up the trash they leave when they go to the beach. Luckily, Virgin Hearts has found some dedicated, environmentally conscious volunteers to help in our efforts to Save The Reef.
The Virgin Hearts program would like to give special thanks to Aya Gimaletdinova, Fernando Landero, Michel Rojon, and a very special mention to Captain Sergio Cruz and his wife Gabriel Espinosa for taking us out on the YEYEN, a beautiful 44 foot catamaran. Captain Cruz took us out for this expedition and not only gave us his time and expertise but allowed us to enjoy the beautiful catamaran with full class and style.
These dedicated people took time out of their lives and days. Straight after everybody finished work they headed out to join us for the night expedition where we explored not 1 but 3 different locations of the Meso-American reef line.
The result of our expedition was: little to no Lionfish activity in these areas. On the surface of things, this seems like good news. However, we did stumble across something that rose several schools of thought among all of us here at Virgin Hearts. As well as little Lionfish activity, we also found very little to no life at all in some of the locations.
This begs the question “where did all the life go?” In a conversation between myself and the founder of Virgin Hearts
(Ryan Gravel) we found ourselves remembering a time years back, when you could just swim off the shore line and enter into this fantastic world of life and color beneath the sea.
What we have decided is something important to consider in the future is not just Lionfish control events, but reef restoration programs. This kind of undertaking is something that takes time, planning and the help of specialists in polyps and coral growth. This could be the next step in our -SAVE THE REEF- program, we believe that the lack of life in the area is due to the impact that Hurricane Wilma had in 2005 (not because of fishing or human interaction).
Once again, we would like to extend our gratitude to everyone that joined us in our expedition. It was a rewarding but tiring experience for all that went late into the night, with lower temperatures than normal, freediving immersion up to 40 feet! We appreciate the support, collaboration and willingness to share your abilities with us to help in both exploration and action.
Also a special thank you to BURRITO AMOR for offering us your help to cook the fish that we caught, see you next time!