Belize City Youths Dive Into the Wonders of Belize with Visit to the Great Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye Natural Monuments
Nature is often used as a part of social programs to help youth from becoming engaged in at-risk behavior. In a country like Belize, this type of approach has proven both effective and essential. Within that context, between August 10th and August 11th 2014, through the joint efforts of the Wake Up Belize Morning Show, OCEANA and the Belize Audubon Society, fourteen (14) boys from some of Belize City’s toughest neighborhoods made their first trip to the Lighthouse Reef Atoll to visit picturesque Half Moon Caye and the iconic Great Blue Hole.
During the two day tour, the children, aged 9 to 13, enjoyed first time opportunities such as snorkeling over sea grass beds and colorful coral patches. As a special treat, under the guidance of BAS’ Protected Areas Manager Shane Young, the youths were able to observe turtle nesting grounds on the caye’s white sandy beaches. While on the island, the group also participated in beach combing and clean-up activities and even played football between the swaying coconut trees.
The highlight of the trip was definitely the group’s visit to the world renowned Great Blue Hole. Only a small number of Belizeans make it to the popular dive site every year. With beating hearts and wide eyes, the boys jumped into the clear waters to see impressive specimens of snapper, grouper, parrotfish and lobster. A few of them even got to see a Caribbean Reef shark.
WUB host Evan “Mose” Hyde accompanied the group and called for “Respect to Timmy Stamp and Supa P and all the other brothers and sisters who are positively intervening in our neighbourhoods.” Hyde says, “These kinds of activities are the only checkpoints that will yield long term results.
Testament to that was this dialogue that took place on Sunday morning:
First boy: "Miss, can we stay until next week Friday?
Lady: You guys are not ready to go back to Belize City?
First boy: No, Miss! Second boy: Belize City nuh wah miss we, Miss!
Third boy: We nuh want to go back till the world end!””
Oceana’s Vice President Janelle Chanona reiterated that “Oceana is proud to support activities which enable Belizeans to enjoy Belizean resources. Citizens of all ages should know what we are risking when we consider policy decisions such as offshore drilling or development projects. It is especially significant for younger Belizeans to have these kinds of opportunities; after all, our efforts today to protect national marine treasures will determine the quality of their future.”
Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 600,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America, Asia and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org or our Facebook page: OceanaBelize.