Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Michele Westmorland_Yucatan RAVE_ DAY 3

Myfanwy & I awoke at 6am and packed for a massive day of multi-level shooting. At 8 o’clock, we met Carolina Martinez Ceja, Communications Director for the Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel (National Marine Park of Cozumel). Carolina introduced us to the National Park Monitoring team: Marines Millet Encalada & Aseneth Urena Ramon, who together supervised the two volunteers on board today for the bi-annual monitoring of the National Park reefs. Valerio Vivas Oscrio was our Captain, and Luis Antonio Chan Betancourt, National Park Ranger, was also on board helping out. This is a great team, and they work together seamlessly. We filmed & photographed the team working on their transects, and for the second dive, we headed over to Paradise Reef to catch some cruise ship snorkelers in action; we were not disappointed. Four large groups, some with 25 people, were out on the reef following their respective snorkel guides, all of whom were feeding what looked like lots and lots of bread to the swarming schools of fish that trailed them.
After our day of diving, Carolina took us to meet Martin, nicknamed “Pantera.” Martin works for the turtle salvation program on Cozumel. He works tirelessly, morning, afternoon & night with as many volunteers as he can muster, monitoring every single turtle that nests on the beaches of Cozumel from June to November. Martin instructed a group of young, Dutch ecotourists on how to properly clean a hatched turtle nest. To their utter delight, they found one that was in the middle of hatching! We felt fortunate to capture this particular tourism event, because it represents such a contrast to the mainstream type of tourism we’ve been documenting.

Meet iLCP Fellow Michele Westmorland
Myfanwy Rowlands is a friend of the iLCP and the 2009 North American Rolex Scholar
Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society . She is assisting Michele on her RAVE mission and getting the scoop behind the scenes!

Michele's images will be seen at WILD9, the 9th World Wilderness Congress
November 6-13, 2009
Merida, Mexico

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