“The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble”
(Blaise Pascal)

 

As every project begins with an exploration phase, we inaugurated this new project in this corner of the Tico Paradise, this paradise of nature that is threatened by the arriving plastics and other threats from human beings.

 

Isla del Caño is classified as a Biological Reserve due to its wealth of life both outside and within its waters. It is located in the southwest of the Costa Rican country and its waters are populated by organisms as spectacular as humpback whales and manta rays. Pumas, monkeys, and other endangered species make their home in the jungle of this remote island.

 

Together with Mauricio (SINAC Costa Rica) and the rest of the #Caminossinplastico team, we headed to Isla del Caño. Mauricio, Christian and myself carried out the first two refresher dives of the project while the rest of the team searched for the optimal location for the meteorological station that we will install on the Island during the next months.

 

On the way to the island we found an American crocodile greeting us from the river, a pod of spotted dolphins a few miles from the coast and multiple sightings of plastics.

                        

After meeting and discussing the projects with the team that works and controls the reserve of the Island and its leader Catalina, we go to the medium where we feel more comfortable, water.

 

Inmersión #01- El Ancla

This dive is called the anchor since its starting point next to the berth line where there is a sunken anchor. The location of this dive is easy since it has a buoy. It is located off the coast of Isla del Caño in its southern zone and slightly to the west (in future dives we will define the area by gps coordinates).

 

The bottoms of this dive site are mainly sandy with large reef rocks. These were the main sightings of this first dive:

  • Seven white tip sharks resting on the sandy bed
  • A hawksbill turtle
  • Eight moray eels of different species among the rocky cracks
  • Three “crown” type starfish or Crown of Thrones

          

 

Most of the rocks we saw were covered by colonial organisms of hard and soft corals as well as algae in the great majority of the rocks observed.

After this first observation, it can be concluded that coral reef status is not of optimum health, with whitening observed in some colonies. If three predatory “crowns” of coral have been observed as in the photo above, a large population of this animal can pose a threat to the health of the reef as they are an invasive and coralivorous  species.

On the other hand, there is a large number of fish in the large area as well as a good population of white tip reef sharks.

A transect line will be used in future field studies to analyze the area in detail. The coordinates of the rocks of this dive will be taken by gps tracing a map of the dive where all the information of marine life will be stored, see photo from above.

 

Dive #02 – El Bajo Del Diablo

This dive is named “El Bajo del Diablo” or “The Devil’s Base” and is frequented by devil rays. It’s located southeast of the island and is characterized by currents from south to north, the site is also characterized by channels or rocky dikes in the north direction— which are probably molded by currents and whose central channel is covered with sand.

The first thing to note is that this dive site does not have mooring lines, however it presents possible anchoring points such as train wheels, the reason that these train wheels are located here is unknown. This dive site clearly needs a mooring line—on the one hand, it would prevent boats from throwing anchors to the bottom which is full of life, and on the other hand to prevent boats from being moved by the currents which would cause them to hit each other or with ocean movement or change.

At this dive site, sponge populations were observed, this along with the presence of devil rays can be an indicator of being a point rich in nutrients that are washed away by the currents.

On our return to Sierpe we were surprised by a family of humpback whales that put on a show by diving and showing us the fluke of their tail.