Exploring Curaçao Above and Below the Waves

We had a hectic, varied and fruitful shooting schedule on Monday, splitting into two groups and filming both underwater and above. Our day began with an interesting interview with Glenn Sulvaran, a longtime Member of Parliament in Curaçao who is committed to limiting environmental impacts from development and particularly passionate about protecting the island’s coral reefs. His love of the sea was born when he learned spearfishing from his father, and has steadily built throughout his life. (He stopped spearfishing long ago, of course, and the reef-depleting practice has been banned on the island since 1976 – with invasive lionfish made an exception.) In addition to that, Sulvaran mentioned Oostpunt should be preserved because coral reefs are valuable for the community. Also, he talked about the importance for citizens, not just tourists, to know Curaçao beneath the water.

Photo Mar 16For the second part of today’s taping, we went snorkeling near Carmabi Research Station, and got to see at first hand the coral reefs. Our expectations of the coral reefs were very high because we normally associate them with the movie Finding Nemo, but we were disappointed to see they were sparse and small in the busy tourist area around the hotel. We used our GoPros for underwater footage.10347098_1573314726264592_8525050466097662321_nOur second interview was with Faisal Dilrosun, who works for the environment ministry, spoke to us about concerns with flows of sewage from faulty sections of the island’s sewage system. He pointed out an area where raw sewage flowed into a creek lined with mangroves. The trees were twice the size of similar stands elsewhere, nourished by the nutrients in the untreated water. But that was the only up side to the pollution. He explained how pathogens flowed freely to the sea, carried along the beaches of nearby resort hotels.vlcsnap-2015-03-16-20h57m54s127Dilrosun said that one way to boost concern about pollution and coral conservation would be to build public awareness of the wonders beneath the waves and the value of clean water. He noted that very few residents have ever dunked their faces under water to marvel at the coral. We also had a conversation with Oscar Mack, an 85-year-old fisherman who recalled his childhood and younger years spearfishing. After government rules banned spearfishing (today’s lionfish hunts are an exception), he shifted increasingly to heading offshore with his boat. He expressed sadness that few young people seemed interested in fishing or related trades now.curacao cassie water plant camAround midday, the tables were turned as we became the subject of a story. Marija Stojsnovic, a journalist from the Amigoe newspaper, featured our production team on the front page and explained our project. You can see her article here. After more snorkeling, you’d think we might have time to unwind — but that’s not possible when so many gigabytes of video were piling up in need of archiving and logging. And then there’s the blog and social media, including typing up this post near midnight. Make sure to follow us, spread the word about our film to anyone who cares about the fate of the sea, and keep up with our production adventures.P1040545

Make sure to check out our vlog to see our progress along the way!

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