Yucatan Dispatch 14 October 29, 2009 from Alacranes, Mexico

A Day to See Giants

We went in search of tiger sharks today. My guide, Ascan, said that he knew of a spot in deep water where they can be seen, so we spent about an hour motoring along the coral until we reached a channel that took us out to the open ocean on the far end of the reef. We dropped anchor in deep blue water. For the first time we were diving in a place too deep to see the bottom.

I was disappointed, I didn’t get to see or photograph any tiger sharks today but we did see a few of the largest grouper I have ever encountered as well as a lobster at least double the size of anything I’d ever seen before. As a kid growing up in Bermuda I can remember my dad donating a lobster to the aquarium that he caught because it was too big to fit in the oven. This monster I saw today was even bigger, big enough that it shared a cave with two grouper that easily weighed in at over 100 pounds. All of these giants were in 165ft of water, the deepest I will probably do on this trip.

It’s a well know fact that these oceanic species that humans have been consuming since we learned how to fish have been getting smaller and smaller in recent times. They cannot live long enough to grow to their full potential before being caught. It is at their full size that they can produce greater numbers of offspring as well, so we humans really don’t seem to be thinking this out too well.

On side note I also saw the largest moray eel I’ve seen, well . . .that I’ve ever seen, on a shallower dive later in the day. He wasn’t too interested in coming out for a photo but judging from what I saw I can say it was well over 10 feet long. Today marked the half-way point of my stay on Alacranes reef. It was a day to see giants. Tomorrow, I go to another even more remote island to do more research for Island Conservation on the invasive plant species that have made it out here.