Everglades USA Exped – Day 18

Florida Bay and Highway 1 Clean Up and Night Diving

Explore, Learn, Act. That's the motto of the PANGAEA Young Explorers Program. During our expedition, we’ve already explored so much of the Everglades and the Florida Keys’ underwater world, and learned a lot from Mike about nature and the human mind. But now, as the expedition slowly comes to an end, we’ve started to act!

Today we did our first beach clean-up. We took the dinghy to a stretch of mangroves between the highway and the ocean. When we arrived and jumped out of the boat we could already see the trash littered along the coast. Equipped with gloves and big trash-bags we started to collect everything that didn't belong to nature. We found heaps of bottles and plastic bags, fishing lines and an oil filter, shoes and even a toilet seat!

Even amidst the litter on the shoreline we did manage to spot a small hammerhead shark swimming just a meter away from our feet.

The most interesting trash we found during the clean up was an old plastic bag filled with small metal artifacts like statues, jewelry, bells and metals carved into small nautical themed trinkets like mermaids, moons, anchors, and life preservers. It took as a while to try and deduce where these thing came from. We ended up guessing that this treasure belonged someone practicing some kind of shamanism who had to much to travel with and had to pitch the heavy bag into the ocean.

After the clean-up and back on Pangaea we made it our mission to climb the first section of the main mast. Rick, Livio and I ended up climbing 9-meters above the water. My heart raced when we decided to jump into the water from there! Taking this last step of jumping down took me a while but when the boys started counting down from 10 I had no choice but to jump. It felt like I was falling until I touched the surface of the water, being surrounded by thousand of little silver air bubbles!

We spent the afternoon working on a little video project (you will see the results soon!) and started the engines to go back to Molasses Reef.

People say that humans know much more about the surface of the moon than about the earth's oceans and that is true! There is so much more to explore in this different world down there. Today we decided to discover the reef at night. After the sunset we descended and met on the ground of the reef. The only things you can actually see under water at night is whatever the light of your torch reaches! We got to swim with sea turtles which actually didn't mind having us around if we treated them with respect. As we have done many dives during the daytime already, this night dive was totally different. All the fish and coral appeared in a different light. This was an unforgettable experience! I am thankful to everyone who made this possible.

-Jule

 

 

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