Thursday, 17 April 2014

Barry saves a slipper lobster, the reef and the day

Saving a slipper lobster, his neighbours and his home is all in a day's work for good Dive Bus buddy, Barry.

(Actually Barry would usually have something like this knocked out before most of us have finished our first cup of coffee rather than a day, but it was the weekend so give him a break.)
The super-fine mesh of the net was
choking a large strip of healthy reef

The major downside of masbangu season (see last Blog entry) is that it kicks off silly season for really bad fishermen. Not the fishermen who make their living from the ocean, but those folks who think it's easy to give it a go and catch something for supper (snupper) with no clue as to how, why, where - or what might happen as a result.

Just the other afternoon, Dive Bus instructor, Badger returned from an otherwise fun trip to the gorgeous Directors Bay with the distressing news that there were two brand new, fishing nets stuck on the reef, damaging corals and trapping and killing small reef fish.

Clearing away the super-fine mesh takes
time, patience and good diving skills so as not to cause
more damage to the healthy reef

With a busy, full day of divers already booked in the following day and no spare hands available to fix this bad situation, we put an urgent call out on The Dive Bus facebook page  asking any divers living in Curacao to help out. We had a huge number of views and shares in no time (thanks to all) but no-one was actually available to do anything about it. Really frustrating!!

Emma slowly, carefully cutting the mesh gill net so this
lucky juvenile slipper lobster gets to go home
and tell his buddies his scary story...
That was, until, along came our hero: none other than Mr Barry-Awesome-Brown, dead-ace photographer, co-author of hugely popular Coral Reef Photos photo blog site and bloody good bloke.

After a full briefing from us on the necessary details, info and concerns, off he set on his mission to save the underwater inhabitants and their "house" reef at Directors Bay.

This challenge was successfully achieved with the aid of assistant/dive buddy, the lovely Emma. The pair of them managed to retrieve both nets - gill nets which are illegal in Curacao - and rescue, amongst other critters, corals and sponges, a rare juvenile slipper lobster.  The nets were HUGE, incredibly fine and lethal to the reef. Check out what Barry had to say about it - and tons of other stories and stunning photos - on his fabulous Blog here.
Emma, Reef Rescuer, gill nets cleared and bagged.
GREAT job!!!!

Just minutes before Barry called in "mission accomplished", Dive Bus local divers Renee and Linda had headed out to Directors Bay on the same mission.

The 4 superheroes' paths never crossed, but once Renee and Linda realised the deadly nets were gone, they turned their attention to removing old fishing line from the reef - and collected MILES of it. Teams of Dive Bus divers have done the same on many ProjectAWARE clean ups there but yet there's still more of it and it keeps on coming - look out for next clean-up coming soon.

HUGE thanks to Barry, Emma, Renee and Linda for heeding the call and making a difference - you guys rock.

Wish YOU could help save the reef and make a difference?  
You might be surprised how you can, wherever you live.  
Find out more, now, here.
 (More about this story on Barry's blog here.)