21:29 - Two dives today: Shark Canyon and Jolly Jacks! The water was fairly choppy until we motored out into deeper water. We had heard that the visibility yesterday was around 10' at some dive sites, but we were lucky today and ended up with fair vis. At Jolly Jacks we saw two enormous loggerhead turtles, a green turtle, and two hawksbill turtles, one of which was really friendly, paddling right up to us and staring us in the eyes. Jim has video footage of me kissing her shell. :)
a hawksbill turtle at jolly jackAfter the dives I went with Jim to Channel 5 (NBC), where he met up with a reporter, a friend (Connie), and two marine scientists to talk about the local beach re-nourishment project (the marine scientists were employees of the project). Apparently, the entire shallow reef in front of a hotel has been covered by sand that is being dredged up to fill in a beach (the site is right in front of the new beach). The project leaders and scientists have "stainless steel monitoring stations" (which the woman kept repeating) that somehow show that they have not killed anything, but the stations must not be in relevant places because we saw footage of the site before and after the project, and it looks completely dead now. The entire area is covered with grey, sooty sand. Anyway, it looks like some kind of war was started. My favorite line (from one of the scientists) was "there was no hard coral there" -- followed by Jim's footage of hard coral -- from the site, pre-project. I hope it was aired that way tonight (we missed it). :) It was also neat to see tv-ready anchormen and women walking around.
At 8:00pm, Anna left to work on their weekend liveaboard trip to the Bahamas. By 8:10pm, Jim had the ultralight fueled and ready for tomorrow's adventures (and it is STILL Valentines Day! :). Hanging out with Jim has made it very difficult to do work for Anna and Jeffrey. :)
Oh. I forgot to mention that there were a few people on the boat today who made it glaringly obvious why the rest of the world (except Britain!) hates Americans. I believe what I heard was, "I don't really care about the people in Iraq and North Korea, as long as I'm comfortable over here." I think he was talking about nuking them, but I'm not sure because I immediately ascended up to a different level on the boat to prevent my ears from being polluted by more ignorance. There was also a guy talking in a way that lumped all of the Middle East and South Asia into a category of "horrible" areas, which sounded to me like a fundamental inability to grasp the validity of cultures foreign to his own. One of the guys even had little beady eyes to compliment his shining personality.