Guanaja Student Project: Day 4 by Chris Canter
Ever since I could remember, I have been traveling with my family. Whether it be to isolated beaches in Indonesia, or to the Ganges river in India, my family and I always find a way to not only enjoy the natural beauty but also connect with the poeple who inhabit it.
Guanaja is no different. As soon as I set foot off of the 10-seat airplane, I was greeted by a friendly local man named Edwin who works at the lodge. He showed me through the small one roomed airport terminal to the skiff that was docked outside. As we set off, I couldn’t help but realize how desolate this island is. From the spits of sand cayes to the quaint villages that are nestled into small bays, it doesn’t take much to realize that there isn’t much here but clear water and lush vegetation.
The first day Noah, Derek and I went to fish around a village for tarpon and snook. There, we were greeted by friendly village men and children who would not only say hi, but ask us to give them a fish if we caught any, and we were happy to do so. After all, we would be providing them with a meal. The children would follow us around yelling “Snook! Snook!” and pointing out fish for us to cast to. After we left the village we went to go diving for lion fish, a reef fish that is decimating many fish because although it is a carnivore, nothing eats them due to their poison. When we got out to the reef we were going to dive on, we met up with the other boys and quickly jumped in. We were in about 30 feet of water and as soon as we dove in I could see tons of fish, the water was perfectly clear and pristine. After swimming around and looking everywhere we did not come up with anything, but we had a chance to see what type of fish we could be fishing for later on. After the dive, everyoine headed back to the lodge for dinner.
Today we rose to hear about our day. We would be planting mangroves to the devastated shorelines which were torn apart by a hurricane in 1998. After breakfast we went to pickup seed pods and headed out to the lagoon where we would be planting them. Cruising in and seeing the devastation really made me realize how much a hurricane can do. Parts of the lagoons and shoreline were completely barren except for the logs of dead trees protruding out of the water and mud. We worked dilligently and planted the mangroves. After that, we took a stroll through the local village and visited with the locals a little before heading back and calling it a night.
Whether it’s planting mangroves with a local environmentalist or fishing with local kids who catch more fish than you with a handline, part of what makes a place special is to learn about the poeple that live here and try to understand their culture and their way of life.
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