Something a Little Different from Diving
This week has been my penultimate week here at Pez Maya and it’s led to a strange feeling for me on base – while others happily chat about heading on to doing their divemaster internships at the XTC Dive Center or how much better the weather will be in a few weeks’ time, I’ve been sat thinking about where I’ll be instead (almost certainly missing diving regardless of where I am!). Anyway leaving that to one side, this week I finally managed to visit Punta Allen and see the work that Erika and other volunteers have been doing to help teach the local school children about marine life and especially in the case of the older kids, the importance of conservation and sustainability.
The day started early as we drove down the bumpy road towards the small fishing town before we stopped to watch the sun rise on the beach. The first group of kids that we saw was the Kinder class who we played a memory game with and a game where they had to sort marine life into the levels of a pyramid representing the layers of the ocean. Some of the kids seemed to really enjoy these while others were possibly too young to stay focused for long enough and so kept wandering off! After we had played these games we started to try and teach them the English pronunciation for the letters of the alphabet which brought great amusement to my American colleague Tommy as the pronunciation of H and Z are somewhat different! Next on our agenda was the secondary school class where Ricardo gave a lionfish lecture in Spanish which seemed to go down well even if I only understood about 3 words of the entire thing. The primary class after lunch were a bit more of a challenge as they kept cheating at the memory card game although they did seem to behave for Erika’s discussion about sustainable fishing. After we were done with the kids for the day, we went to the lighthouse in Punta Allen with the man in charge of it who gave us a quick history lesson about the lighthouse before taking us up to see the stunning views of the Sian Ka’an reserve from the top. While up there taking pictures and enjoying the spectacular views we got treated even further by the sight of an osprey coming in to land in its nest on top of the old lighthouse.
Punta Allen is a beautiful little town which is almost perfectly the image I had in my head of what Mexico would look like away from the big cities. The work being done there by GVI is hugely beneficial to the local area in teaching them how to look after their resources for decades to come and also to Mexico in general – after all the healthier reef the better!