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RATs – Week 12 – Cleaning Up the Mangroves

On Friday 7th of April the RATs group headed over to Big Blue Unlimited where we kayaked over to the mangroves with our big black baggies to clean up all the garbage that is killing our wild life. We were happily accompanied by Roger Halliday (Operations Manager– and sea captain – at Big Blue), Marcia Gutierrez (Dive instructor at Big Blue), and Don Stark (Co-Founder of the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund) Jackie Walker (Manager at Amayara Nature Centre) and, of course, Miss Rankin.
We were all on the race to collect the most garbage and perhaps recycleit as well. To our surprise we didn’t find that much garbage in the first sections of mangroves, but we shouldn’t have any at all. We did retrieve items like buckets, big sponges, nets, bowls, baskets, bottles etc. I would like to say that most of the kayakers at some point got stuck aground (even if we don’t want to admit it!) because of the low tide.
Ella O’Connell was extremely exhilarated when she found this big yellow bucket that was in perfect shape. She would not stop talking about it the whole kayak ride: we are certain she is going to find a way to reuse it! Reduce; reuse; recycle at work!
After cleaning up, we headed back to check on our Mangroves that we re-planted about three months ago. Sadly it seemed all the leaves had fallen off the Mangroves, however, as Jackie explained that could be due to the low tide and they do seem to have settled their roots quite securely – so please keep your fingers crossed! We will check on them in a few months.
We did however see lots of conch eggs that looked almost identical to sand that was being dug up. They were small beige-ish tiny ball looking things. Which then made me cautious on our walk back to our kayaks –I didn’t want to trample on any! I even saw my first sea cucumber which was awesome. Actually we saw so many that me and Ella started to name them.
We had so much fun cleaning up the mangroves. Ella and I were racing Naryan and Oliver F. back to Big Blue when the cheaters pushed our rudder in the water. This wouldn’t have been that bad if it wasn’t already been broken which then slowed us down majorly. Obviously without this we would have won the race!
Even though this was our last RAT’s Friday’s activities session we were all happy we could end it off like this with a relaxing and fun day in the sun. We will all keep the new things close to heart for our new adventures to come, preferably some more RATs adventures! Thanks to all who made this possible this term.
By Jessica Saunders

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