Blackbird Caye Field Station

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Turneffe Atoll, Belize.  Blackbird Caye Field Station is a remote outpost of science and conservation awash in a deep blue wilderness.  Owned and operated by the Oceanic Society, the Station conducts long-term research on marine mammals and coral reefs, as well as promotes the conservation of Belize’s spectacular marine ecosystems and wildlife.

A spotted eagle ray, Aetobatus narinari, emerges from the blue abyss on a coral reef of Belize.

A spotted eagle ray, Aetobatus narinari, emerges from the blue abyss on a coral reef of Belize.

This past May 2015, I had the immense privilege of visiting the Station on Blackbird Caye, one of the many islands making up Turneffe – the Western Hemisphere’s largest and most biodiverse coral atoll.   The atoll is situated about halfway between the coast of Belize and the iconic Great Blue Hole, and supports a rich, healthy marine ecosystem.  Unlike many areas of the Caribbean, this is a special place still dominated by large wildlife – where sitings of manatees, crocodiles, sharks, large groupers, rays and sea turtles are a common occurrence.   The waters surrounding Turneffe Atoll are so special they were declared a marine reserve in 2012.  The founding of this Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve was a major milestone for the Oceanic Society’s Turneffe Atoll Biodiversity Initiative and continues to be a major focal point for the organization as the process to fully define and manage the reserve continues.

It was an honor to visit this remarkable wild place as a guest of the Oceanic Society.  The video above, filmed entirely on a GoPro Hero4, is a small glimpse I put together of this wild blue place.  But no video, words or photograph can adequately describe the wonderful bounty of life this place supports.  Like most special places on this planet, Turneffe Atoll is not without it’s threats, but it has a wonderful champion in the Oceanic Society.  Please consider supporting their work through a tax-deductible donation.

 

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