Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Why haven't I done this before??"

“Why have I never done this before?” is a question I’ve repeated to myself practically every day in the five weeks I’ve been here. But during my first week on marine I must have driven everyone mad saying it every five minutes! It was the first time I’d ever been snorkelling and let me tell you, the snorkelling here is amazing!

-- Snorkeling in the Marine Park for the first time--

In the marine park the fish grow to enormous sizes! There were huge parrotfish, beautiful angelfish and butterflyfish everywhere you looked as well as loads of other brilliant fish I haven’t been able to identify yet. The coral is stunning too. It’s so easy to forget about snorkelling transects; there’s just so much going on down there! At the end of the transect Andy and I were given a heart attack when something slithered around a piece of coral beneath us. We thought it was a snake! Maybe the number of snake sightings around camp had made us paranoid but it really did look like one. When Julien swam over to see what the commotion was he told us it was a Snake Eel. They see them a lot on that transect.

-- Butterfly fish I spotted while snorkeling--

You can really see the difference in the marine reserve though. It’s still beautiful but allowing traditional fishing there means that the fish are much smaller and a lot less varied. The coral also doesn’t seem quite as healthy. Halfway through snorkelling a transect Edita and Jenny started squealing like they’d seen a shark! After about thirty seconds of this we eventually got the word “TURTLE” out of them. A Hawksbill turtle had swam practically underneath them. I was gutted I missed it! Jenny had never seen one before but she identified it easily as a Hawksbill by its overlapping coastal scutes and serrated marginal scutes.

-- Eels lurk in the crevices of coral reefs--

Later, on the boat, Shafii spotted another one off the portside. I was just about to lament missing yet another one when it popped up again to breathe! They’re beautiful creatures and really fast too. A second after it reappeared it was gone! Shafii really does have eagle eyes.

Unfortunately the rainy season has definitely lived up to its name this week (we couldn’t even get on the boat yesterday) so, as yet, we haven’t seen a dolphin. There’s still next week though!