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Saturday, February 16, 2013
Gabriella is a young girl who came to Small Hope Bay Lodge last summer with her parents. Both mom and dad were divers and being that she was 10 years old she decided it was time she became a Junior Open water Diver. Ella worked hard during her stay and within a short time she was certified! She was able to go on many dives with her parents including two dives to Shark Emporium. This dive was particularly fun for her. It was her first time seeing sharks and diving with them was something she was curious about and something that had a big impact on her life.
When Ella returned home she took part in an educational program done by the organization PeaceFirst. While the fundamental lessons of the activities she took part in would be very beneficial to children of her age, Ella was quite dismayed by the misrepresentation the activity made about sharks, which she had come to love so much. The activity painted sharks as vicious and likely to harm/kill people. Below is her response to these activities. Ella took it upon herself to voice her opinions to the organization and in turn they have decided to change their curriculum.
Ella is aware, as many of us are, that shark populations are facing more trouble than ever before. As well she can appreciate that as apex predators they are extremely beneficial to our ocean's ecosystems. Many factors are contributing to their declining numbers, however humans are at the top of that list. The motivation behind Ella's mission to change the curriculum at PeaceFirst is simply that we need more people to care and stand-up for sharks. If everyone knew the truth about sharks, that they are not blood-thirsty, man eating machines, but instead beautiful, curious and impressive creatures, ones that are vital to the survival of our seas, they might, like Ella take a stand and protect them.
We are very proud of the work Ella has done. Being courageous enough to stand up for what you believe in at such a young age is quite impressive. May we all learn from Ella's experience and do our best to advocate for those who can not advocate for themselves.
Please read Ella's letter to PeaceFirst below and well as the response she received from them.
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Friday, December 7, 2012
A Great sighting at Small Hope Bay Lodge
The divers at Small Hope Bay Lodge, after a few days of higher then normal winds, woke up Thursday morning to a perfectly calm sea and they knew it was going to be a great day. Giant staircase, a wall dive, was on the docket for the morning. This dive would take the group over the edge to 120 feet to cruise along a beautiful section of the wall, and then bring them back up to the top of the wall at approx 65 feet to hang out exploring the corals for the remainder of the dive.
The dive started off great, after getting down to their maximum depth of 120 feet a couple Caribbean Reef Sharks cruised by to say good morning. Everyone felt great after seeing the sharks and they would have been more then satisfied with that. Little did they know however that another surprise was waiting for them at the top of the wall.
Once they all made it back to 65 feet an extremely curious Hawksbill Turtle was there to greet them. This turtle was not phased at all by the divers and came very close to say hello and give everyone an opportunity to take some great pictures, and in the case of divemaster Dennis some wicked video footage!
|Divers Paul and Axel admire the beautiful Hawksbill Turtle|
The Hawksbill Turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata is classified as critically endangered on the IUNC (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Redlist of Threatened Species. They are migratory marine reptiles that are found in tropical and subtropical waters. Hawksbill sea turtles, like other marine turtles, have a flattened body shape, a protective carapace or shell and flipper-like arms, adapted for swimming in the open ocean. They are however easily distinguishable from other sea turtles as they have a sharp, curving beak.
There are many challenges facing this beautiful species, some of which include;
Direct take: both eggs and adults for food, adults for the tortoiseshell trade
Fishing Impacts: accidental capture and entanglement in nets and long lines
Beach Front Development: alters or destroys nesting beach habitat
Pollution: Injestible platics in the ocean are a huge threat. The turtles will either mistake the plastic for food and injest the harmful trash or young turtles will find themselves entangled in the plastic and unable to get out, they will continue to grow around the obstuction causing restrictions and mutations to their shell.
Hawksbills are also threatened by the loss of coral reef communities which act as their feeding sites. Ocean conservation has never been more important then it is today. Our oceans are threatened by pollution, climate change, exploitation and development. If we want to continue to have amazing sightings like the one our divers had at Small Hope Bay Lodge we need to do our part to protect our oceans and coral reef systems.
Find out how you can help!
Visit these sites and do your part to protect our seas and those that inhabit them!