Out with the tide…

Lazy afternoon

…or you’re done for the day.

Above, Havelock fishermen empty their boats for the afternoon; they’ll return to the sea at night or the next morning when the fish are more active and the tide is high enough for them to clear the coral-strewn flats.

Perhaps I’m romanticizing just a little, but these are the opposite of industrial fishing. They’re traditional fisherfolk who have been sustaining their families on small catches for generations.

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Oh to see the beach

Havelock No. 3

Dreaming of Havelock… But in a few weeks, I’ll at least be on sandy shores in Panama.

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I want to hang out with fishermen

My people

I spend a lot of time thinking about small-scale fishermen. I do not spend enough time actually hanging out with small-scale fishermen.

Like these guys, whose boat is beached for the afternoon in the tide flats of Havelock.

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Bubble clowns at it again…

Tiny charismatic fish.

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Send in the clowns…

Clowning around

Anemonefish in a bubble-tip anemone. This one has been identified to me as a Clark’s Anemonefish, but I’m inclined to think it’s spine-cheeked anemonefish. From Lighthouse Reef. More to come.

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Scared lionfish

I'm afraid of him, yet he runs away

A lionfish caught in the open makes for more protective coral at Lighthouse Reef.

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This sea snake brought to you by…

On the prowl

More from the beautiful banded sea krait. This one from Lighthouse Reef just north and out of the Havelock channel.

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Coral reef under threat

Sad reef

The dying Lighthouse reef of Havelock Island typifies shallow water reefs the world over. The ecosystem is collapsing.

So-called bleached coral looses its color as the symbiotic relationship with a protozoa fails. As the coral stop growing and eventually die, the myriad species that survive around them move or diminish. Frequently, it seems the corals are left to the whims of algae.

Scientists say coral bleaching is caused by a variety of factors stressing the coral (which are actually tiny creatures that build magnificent skeletons) and disrupting the symbiosis. Global warming, acidification, human waste, harmful fishing habits and more are all very real human impacts on these rain forests of the sea.

This underwater rainforest is all but gone

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Solitude

Channel

I wouldn’t mind being a lighthouse keeper.

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And we’re back… tanned and tired but a certified divemaster

Descent

This week I’ve returned to the dusty, human crush of Delhi after more than three weeks on Havelock Islandtraining as a divemaster. I spent my time interning at a dive shop — the very one where I learned to dive a little more than a year ago.

That meant long hours — 12-hour days — of managing divers, helping lead dives, sorting/cleaning/lugging gear, skills tests, timed swimming trials, science and protocol exams and, thankfully, a fair bit (more than 40 logged in the three weeks) of diving. I’m now a certified Enriched Air diver and one posted envelope away from being a card-carrying, certified PADI divemaster.

The above photo, by the way, is my reflection in another diver’s bubble’s on a descent 100 feet or so to the bottom at Johnny’s Gorge, one of our celebrated dive sites.

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