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Belize: Preserving the Coral Reef

Program Number: 3566RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/15/2014 - 2/24/2014;
Duration: 9 nights
Location: Belize
Price starting at: $2,598.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Service Learning
Meals: 26; 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Working hands-on with a marine biologist, you and other volunteer researchers collect data on key coral reef health indicators off Belize, one of the richest and most diverse marine habitats on earth. Easy-to-learn sampling techniques, including shallow water fish counts and coral reef transects, have minimal impact on local habitats. This monitoring project in association with the Oceanic Society will help provide an early warning of changes in reef health, which can be indicative of the effects of global climate change, overfishing, or other impacts that may warrant concern for local marine conservation managers.




Highlights

• Special research permits allow you to obtain unique coral reef data.
• Working side-by-side with researchers, gather information to help coral reef preservation.
• Snorkel the rim of the famous Blue Hole, visit a seabird sanctuary at Half Moon Caye, enjoy beach snorkeling and a barbeque at Lighthouse Reef Atoll.



Activity Particulars

No prior experience or training required. Participants must be able to swim, snorkel and bring their own snorkeling gear.




Date Specific Information

2-15-2014

Participants must arrive in Belize City no later than 2:30 PM on Day 1 of the program due to a boat transfer.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Belize City, Blackbird Caye, 9 nights; departure Belize City.



Flight from the U.S.A.
Arrival Belize City
Boat to Blackbird Caye
9 nights
Boat to Belize City for departure.

The habitat of this private island within the pristine Turneffe Atoll serves as a feeding and resting area for dolphins, manatees and other marine and bird life. Under expert guidance, conduct shallow water coral reef surveys, count species of fish and assess coral reef community structure. Small teams join forces on various sampling methods. Evenings include lectures and discussions on the biology and ecology of coral reefs, fish identification and behavior, threats to reef health and coral reef conservation efforts worldwide. Guided snorkeling trips introduce reef marine life and other excursions introduce the area’s natural history. Full day excursion to snorkel at the rim of the Blue Hole made famous by Jacques Cousteau, and Half Moon Caye seabird sanctuary. Excellent beach snorkeling opportunities at the Caye. Learn about the nation’s multi-cultural heritage as you sample traditional Belizean cuisine, which combines Mayan, Mexican, Spanish and Caribbean elements.




Belize

Before it was colonized as “British Honouras,” Belize flourished as a stronghold of the Maya civilization. Today, the country celebrates this unique heritage while sharing in Central American and Caribbean identities. Its tropical climate supports the country’s rich biodiversity, while its coastline along the Caribbean Sea offers access to the second-longest coral reef system in the world.



Accommodations
Beachfront cabanas in a private island setting.
Meals and Lodgings
   Oceanic Society Blackbird Caye Field Station
  Blackbird Caye, Turneffe Atoll, Belize
In Flight
10 nights
 Oceanic Society Blackbird Caye Field Station
Type: Field Station
  Description: Beachfront cabanas each with a porch facing the Caribbean Sea.
  Ship Information: 23' research/excursion vessels with canopy top and vertical swim ladder.
  Contact info: Blackbird Caye, Turneffe Atoll, Belize
Belize City,   Belize
phone: +8003267491
web: www.oceanicsociety.org
  Room amenities: Small storage closet, fan, 110 AC electrical plugs (powered by generator)
  Facility amenities: Double occupancy cabanas (2 singles available), private baths, comfortable with basic amenities, lovely dining palapa
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Variable. Optional extensions available for snorkeling, scuba diving, or to see Mayan ruins, mainland of Belize.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Variable. Optional extensions available for snorkeling, scuba diving, or to see Mayan ruins, mainland of Belize.
  Check out time: 9:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check-in at the Princess Hotel marina located at Kings Park at 3:00 pm for a 4:00 pm departure. Arrive at Blackbird Field Station at 5:30 pm. You will be staying at Oceanic Society Blackbird Caye Field Station that night.
  End of Program:
Early morning departure from Blackbird Field Station to the Princess Hotel marina, arriving at 10:00 am. You will be staying at Oceanic Society Blackbird Caye Field Station the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. All tourist and non-Belizean citizens are required to pay an exit fee of $39.25. As of October 2010, all U.S. airlines include this fee in the price of the ticket. If you are flying an international carrier, check with your airline to make sure your ticket cost includes this fee. If it is not included, you will need to allow extra time to pay the fee at the airport when you are departing Belize.
  Parking availability:
Not applicable
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Blackbird Caye, Turneffe Atoll
  Nearest city or town:  Belize City
  Nearest highway: not applicable
  Nearest airport:  Belize City (BZE)
  Transportation to site: Your flight should be scheduled to arrive before 2:30 pm on the day of your arrival. Upon arrival in Belize City, if you are not traveling on the group transfer, you can take a taxi from the airport to the Princess Hotel. The Princess Hotel is located at Kings Park, about 30 minutes from the airport. At 3:00 pm, go to the Marina behind the hotel where an Oceanic Society representative will meet you at the dock for boarding. Check-in begins at 3:00 pm; the vessel departs at 4:00 pm. If you have made your own flight arrangements, the Oceanic Society can make arrangements for your ground transfer at an additional cost.
  From End of Program
  Location: Blackbird Caye, Turneffe Atoll
  Transportation from site: Please make sure your flight departs after 12:00 pm (noon) on the day of your departure. An early morning boat transfer will take you back to the Princess Hotel Marina. Upon arrival, ground transportation will meet you to transfer you to the airport. If you made your own flight arrangements, the Princess Hotel can arrange for a taxi or the Oceanic Society can arrange ground transfer for you ahead of time for an additional cost.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Equipment Requirements: You will need to bring your own mask, fins and snorkel.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1:
(Saturday, February 15)
   
 Arrive To: 90-minute boat transfer to Oceanic Society Blackbird Caye Field Station, Turneffe Atoll at approximately 5:30 pm.
 Dinner: A buffet or family style dinner at the field station "palapa" (a large meeting room with a spacious dining area). Enjoy a Belizean meal with an emphasis on rice, vegetables, beans and chicken. Tea, coffee and juice are offered and canned beverages and soft drinks are for sale at US $2 - $3, cash only.
   
Accommodations: Oceanic Society Blackbird Caye Field Station
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2:
(Sunday, February 16)
   
 Breakfast: A buffet or family style Belizean breakfast served with tea, coffee and juice served daily in the field station dining palapa.
 Morning: Training in field methods including fish identification. Morning boat excursions to research sites for data collection. Throughout week, one or two morning recreational snorkeling excursions.
 Lunch: A buffet or family style Belizean lunch in the field station palapa. Tea, coffee and juice are offered and canned beverages and soft drinks are for sale at US $2 - $3, cash only.
 Afternoon: Afternoon boat excursions to research sites for data collection.
 Dinner: Dinner at the field station palapa.
 Evening: Evening lectures, presentations, discussion sessions
   
Accommodations: Oceanic Society Blackbird Caye Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:
(Monday, February 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the field station palapa.
 Morning: Continued training in field methods is provided. Morning boat excursions to research sites with data collection.
 Lunch: Lunch at the field station palapa.
 Afternoon: Afternoon boat excursions to research sites for data collection.
 Dinner: Dinner at the field station palapa.
 Evening: Evening lectures, presentations, discussion sessions.
   
Accommodations: Oceanic Society Blackbird Caye Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:
(Tuesday, February 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the field station palapa.
 Morning: Continued training in field methods is provided. Morning boat excursions to research sites with data collection.
 Lunch: Lunch at the field station palapa.
 Afternoon: Afternoon boat excursions to research sites for data collection.
 Dinner: Dinner at the field station palapa.
 Evening: Evening lectures, presentations, discussion sessions
   
Accommodations: Oceanic Society Blackbird Caye Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5:
(Wednesday, February 19)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the field station palapa.
 Morning: Morning boat excursions to research sites with data collection.
 Lunch: Lunch at the field station palapa.
 Afternoon: Afternoon boat excursions to research sites for data collection.
 Dinner: Dinner at the field station palapa.
 Evening: Evening lectures, presentations, discussion sessions
   
Accommodations: Oceanic Society Blackbird Caye Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6:
(Thursday, February 20)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the field station palapa.
 Morning: Continued training in field methods is provided. Morning boat excursions to research sites with data collection.
 Lunch: Lunch at the field station palapa.
 Afternoon: Afternoon boat excursions to research sites for data collection.
 Dinner: Dinner at the field station palapa.
 Evening: Evening lectures, presentations, discussion sessions
   
Accommodations: Oceanic Society Blackbird Caye Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7:
(Friday, February 21)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the field station palapa.
 Morning: Continued training in field methods is provided. Morning boat excursions to research sites with data collection.
 Lunch: Lunch at the field station palapa.
 Afternoon: Afternoon boat excursions to research sites for data collection.
 Dinner: Dinner at the field station palapa.
 Evening: Evening lectures, presentations, discussion sessions
   
Accommodations: Oceanic Society Blackbird Caye Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8:
(Saturday, February 22)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the field station palapa.
 Morning: Morning boat excursions to research sites for data collection.
 Lunch: Lunch at the field station palapa.
 Afternoon: Afternoon boat excursions to research sites for data collection.
 Dinner: Dinner at the field station palapa.
   
Accommodations: Oceanic Society Blackbird Caye Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Full day excursion to Lighthouse Reef for snorkeling the famous Blue Hole, visiting a red-footed booby sanctuary, superb beach snorkeling from Half Moon Caye, and enjoy a picnic of Belizean specialties.
(Sunday, February 23)

Note: Snorkeling at several sites. View seabird sanctuary from a viewing platform, enjoy beachcombing, and a lunch picnic.



   
 Depart From: Blackbird Caye by boat for an hour and a half trip to Lighthouse Reef Atoll.
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the field station palapa.
 Morning: Snorkel the rim of the famous Blue Hole.
 Lunch: Enjoy a picnic on the beach of Belizean specialties.
 Afternoon: Leisurely walk to the Half Moon Caye Booby and Frigate bird sanctuary to see nesting seabirds. Also enjoy fabulous beach snorkeling. Late afternoon departure back to Blackbird Caye Field Station.
 Dinner: Dinner at the field station palapa. .
   
Accommodations: Oceanic Society Blackbird Caye Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: 90-minute boat transfer from Blackbird Caye Field Station, Turneffe Atoll to Belize City.
(Monday, February 24)
   
 Depart From: 90-minute boat transfer from Blackbird Caye Field Station, Turneffe Atoll back to Belize City
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the field station palapa.
   
Accommodations: Oceanic Society Blackbird Caye Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Three Volume Set: The Reef Set: Reef Fish, Reef Creature, and Reef Coral


Author: Paul Humann, Ned Deloach


Description: Highly Recommended as the best guide to reef fish id in the region. Three books in one slipcase. Copies of: Reef Fish Identification: Florida, Caribbean & Bahamas ; (3rd Edition); Reef Creature Identification: Florida, Caribbean & Bahamas (3rd Edition) and Reef Coral Identification: Florida, Caribbean & Bahamas (3rd Edition) packaged in a beautifully printed shelf case. As of November 1, 2013 it now includes new editions of both Reef Creature and Reef Coral.



Belize (Insight Guides)


Author: Insight Guides


Description: Insight Guides, the world's largest visual travel series, capture the unique character of each destination's culture with a perspective only an insider can provide. Picturesque, romantic, historic or exotic, Insight covers the world's most popular destinations.



Belize Handbook


Author: Alex Robinson


Description: From mountainous, tropical rainforests with abundant wildlife to fertile subtropical foothills and bird-filled coastal wetlands and beautiful beaches, Belize is an extraordinary and fascinating country to explore. Whether you want to enjoy world-class diving, snorkeling and sport fishing, ancient Mayan ruins or endless bird-watching opportunities, this brand new Footprint Handbook provides comprehensive coverage of this diverse and unique country including amazing cultural insights, all the best places to eat, drink and sleep, detailed advice on how to get around and how to experience the most from the adventure activities on offer.



Belize, Adventures in Nature


Author: Richard Mahler


Belize: A Natural Destination


Author: Richard Mahler, Steele Wotkyns, Kevin Schafer


Description: Featuring all-new material on Mayan ruins, diving, snorkeling, fishing, river trips, and nature tours, the latest edition of Belize: A Natural Destination remains "the best guide to both practical and historical information" (Outside). 55 photos, 20 in color. 40 line drawings. 10 maps.



Corals of the World


Author: Elizabeth Wood


Divers and Snorkelers Guide to Fishes and Sea Life of the Caribbean, Florida, Bahamas and Bermuda


Author: F. Joseph Stokes


Diving and Snorkeling Guide to Belize


Author: Franz O. Meyer


Fishes of the Continental Waters of Belize


Author: David W. Greenfield, Jamie E. Thomerson


Description: This volume provides taxonomic keys and descriptions for 118 fish species recorded in Belize: 3 families and 6 species of exclusively freshwater fishes, 5 families and 35 species of brackishwater fishes with some salt tolerance, and 30 families and 77 species of marine fishes. Additional contents include 213 drawings, 72 maps, and extensive historical, biological, and distributional data of fish species, as well as a discussion of the region’s geology. Because of Belize’s geology and location, this guide is broadly representative of Central American fish fauna in general, and it will be useful to students and scholars of tropical and marine biology, sportfishing and diving enthusiasts, aquariasts, and tropical fish hobbyists everywhere.



Living Invertebrates


Author: Vicki Pearse


Description: Living Invertebrates" is an introduction to the invertebrates for students and for anyone who seeks more familiarity with the diversity of animal life on earth. It provides a complete and balanced coverage of the groups of invertebrates written in readable language, with the minimum of technical detail. The authors have selected observations and experiments that illustrate important methods, approaches and principles. In particular they have chosen material that illuminates the functional morphology, ecology and natural history of the phyla, in such a way as to bring out the inherent interest in each group. The many photographs, a large number of which have never before been published, provide an approach to the shapes, textures and aspects of invertebrates that cannot properly be communicated through words or drawings.



Lonely Planet Belize (Country Guide)


Author: Mara Vorhees, Joshnua Samuel Brown


Lonely Planet Diving & Snorkeling Belize


Author: Tim Rock


Description: The world's second-longest barrier reef, three of the Western Hemisphere's four coral atolls, more than 400 fish species and a host of invertebrates sheltering in warm Caribbean waters make Belize an irresistible destination for divers and snorkelers alike. This guide will introduce you to the wonders both underwater and topside that have earned the country its reputation as an ecotourism hotspot. In This Guide: Detailed dive information to 82 sites Full-color photos throughout Easy-to-read maps of dive regions Travel logistics and topside attractions



Snorkeling Guide to Marine Life: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas


Author: Paul Humann, Ned Deloach


Description: This field guide illustrates all the fish, corals, invertebrates and plants you are most likely to encounter in less than 15 feet of water in the Caribbean. Humann's photographs are excellent for identification purposes - and the handy size makes it perfect to take along in the boat or to the beach.



The Living Ocean: Understanding and Protecting Marine Biodiversity


Author: Boyce Thorne-Miller, Sylvia Earle


Description: The importance of biodiversity to planetary health and even human survival is now undisputed, yet little information exists about the importance of marine biodiversity. The world's oceans are exploited and used as dumping grounds with disastrous consequences for marine ecosystems and global biodiversity generally. This updated and revised edition offers a look at the condition of our oceans and provides an accessible explanation of marine biological diversity and the threats facing it. All varieties of marine ecosystems are discussed and practical, workable suggestions are provided for their protection. The book is intended as a tool for environmentalists, policymakers and all those concerned with the conservation of our marine environments.



The New Key to Belize


Author: Stacy Ritz


The Rough Guide to Belize


Author: Peter Eltringham


Description: "The Rough Guide to Belize" is the ultimate travel guide to this unique country, with clear maps and detailed coverage of all the best attractions, from the beautiful, sun-washed cayes to the soaring Mayan pyramids. Discover Belize's highlights with stunning photography and extensive information on everything from the country's magnificent Barrier Reef - the longest in the Western Hemisphere - to its mist-shrouded jungles. Find detailed practical advice on what to see and do in Belize, relying on up-to-date descriptions of the best resorts, hotels, spas, and restaurants for all budgets. "The Rough Guide to Belize" also features two full-color sections featuring Belize's splendid underwater life, plus its ancient Mayan pyramids and sites. Explore every corner of Belize with more user-friendly maps than any other guidebook. Make the most of your time on Earth with "The Rough Guide to Belize".





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