By Dallas, Brianna, Lissette, and Grace
Our first full day on Curaçao was packed with action and information. Early this morning we met Ryan de Jongh, a local tour guide and environmentalist with family roots on the island going back more than 200 years. He led us on a kayak tour through windy and wonderful Piscadera Bay, showing us green mangrove patches that he’d planted in recent years and floating “islands” of young mangrove trees that he’d anchored hoping to create a man-made “tunnel” once the tiny saplings take root in the mud below. He said his goal was to restore as much mangrove cover as possible, making up for the destruction of most of the nation’s mangroves by settlers and, more recently, development.
photo by Yumeng Ji
After lunch, Mark Vermeij, science director of the Carmabi Research Foundation, gave a presentation about the ecological and economic benefits of the surrounding coral reefs. While some are seriously damaged, the reefs at the undeveloped eastern end of the island – called Oostpunt – are a living “gem” that helps seed the rest of the island’s coral areas and fish stocks. After the presentation we were able to get him on camera to explain the ecology of coral reef restoration.
To wrap up our day at Carmabi, we were able to interview a local fisherman, Robert Flameling. He had just returned from a successful day at sea. He spoke to us about the significant challenges fishermen face – ranging from competition from foreign longline boats that set out miles of line with 10,000 hooks to high fuel prices. Right from the bed of his truck, he revealed his catch of the day — including a huge yellowfin tuna and a torpedo-shaped wahoo. Tonight we will spend time logging footage and we’re looking forward to another productive day of shooting tomorrow.
photo by Yumeng Ji