I recently completed the Advanced Open Water diving certification.  It’s basically the second step after the Open water certification.

The class was a blast ; it’s basically reading a book and doing 5 supervised dives. Each dive has a different objective.  We did the following : Deep (100ft), wreck (saw the wreck of the Oro Verde), Night (dove after sunset …), Navigation (swimming around with a compass) and observation (swimming around and looking at stuff). I highly recommend this class to anyone considering it.  I also met some great people and now have some new dive buddies.

During one of the dives, someone spotted a Lionfish and it was captured.   In a nutshell, Lionfish are an invasive species and they are infesting reefs all over the Caribbean.  It is widely believed that a ten years ago or so, a handful of these fish were accidentally released into Biscayne Bay in Miami and have since reproduced and migrated all the way to Cayman. Apparently, the lionfish are a huge problem in the Bahamas.

The problem is that they are indigenous to the pacific and have few Atlantic/Caribbean  predators. Also, they are voracious eaters ; they eat three times their weight daily!  Thus, a campaign in ongoing to cull them.  Although eradication is impossible, minimizing the spread is the key.

Here is a baby that was caught while on one of the certification dives.

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Unfortunately, these fish are spectacular!

Here are some pictures taken by a dive buddy (thanks Dean) on a dive we did this week-end.

A friendly turtle.

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A small but mean looking Morey Eel.  Great colors in this picture.

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Finally, here is a very interesting article that was published in the local paper about the Lionfish problem.

http://www.caymannetnews.com/news-9444–1-1—.html