April 12, 2012
The reef at Alice Shoal was an impressive site today, as much for the human activity as the marine life. Rising up a few meters off the bottom I spotted divers working in pairs around me as far out as I could see. In between them were the welcome sight of countless fish—angels, huge surgeonfish, and loads of exquisite black durgeons.
Redspotted hawkfish at Alice Shoal
The reef here is in the 15 to 20 meter depth range, with most of the seafloor covered in algae and sponges. The contours are mild, with only the occasional rock ledge for fish or lobsters to hide beneath. There are corals here, but they’re sparse.
Each night the team comes together to discuss the day’s work. Tonight, the main topic was how much more plentiful, and in many cases larger, the fish are here compared to the to Pedro Bank, the site of an earlier mission. That’s not surprising, because Pedro Bank, about 130 kilometers northeast of Alice Shoal and much closer to Jamaica’s main island, is far less isolated, opening it to much heavier fishing. Here, we still haven’t seen a fishing boat.
Loading the Calcutta for our first dives at Alice Shoal
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