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#341326 - 06/15/09 05:31 PM Blasting coral at the Blue Hole-How times change
bywarren Offline
With the recent discussion on boats damaging the reef and the resulting fines, it brought back to mind when Cousteau came to Belize in 1971 to explore the Blue Hole and how they blasted away part of the reef to allow the Calypso to enter the Blue Hole.
Can you imagine if that was done today. shocked

It would make for interesting press - Belize Goverment throws Cousteau in jail. grin

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#341339 - 06/15/09 07:55 PM Re: Blasting coral at the Blue Hole-How times change [Re: bywarren]
Peter Jones Offline
I've read that that was a myth. Is there any evidence for what actually happened?

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#341875 - 06/19/09 11:30 PM Re: Blasting coral at the Blue Hole-How times change [Re: Peter Jones]
Marty Offline
found this googling

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Chad_Ordelheide
February 3rd, 2006, 05:19 AM
So, isn't there a rumor / truth...??? that Jacques Cousteau used dynamite to blast as passage for his ship into the blue hole? Does anybody have any hard facts on that story?
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DA Aquamaster
February 3rd, 2006, 09:34 AM
I've heard the rumor and, if true, I suspect it was only an isolated corral head or two removed to clear an otherwise natural channel. The National Geogprahic article referred to them threading their way between reefs and coral heads to get there but I do not recall any reference to blasting, so if blasting occurred the National Geopraphic Society is an unindicted co-conspirator.

Personally I don't see any reason for any blasting to have occurred. It would have been an additional expense for an organization that was never swimming in cash and that in any event had lauches capable of getting the required divers and equipment there anyway. Dynamite? Why bother?

The rumor always seems to create a mental image of JYC blasting the nautical eqivalent of a highway through hundred of yards of solid reef to get Calypso to the Blue Hole.
RadRob
February 3rd, 2006, 09:49 AM
In a few documentaries I have seen, they talk about this and even show some footage from the boats that were there. It's not a rumor. He wasn't able to get his boat in through the small opening that was already there, so he took dynamite and made it bigger. It was "in the name of science" so it was allowed to enable them to do research. Wonder how much trouble we would get in if we did that. What if we told them it was for "research?"
RadRob
February 3rd, 2006, 10:25 AM
"There are other indications that at this early stage Cousteau and his crew were not the best custodians of the life they sought to capture on film. At one point they dynamite a remote coral reef just off the coast of Belize. While Cousteau condemns dynamiting as a fishing method, he justifies it for science as the only way to take an accurate census of the marine life in an area. He never tells us why it is important to take a census and what the results are. Instead, he just shows us hundreds of fish lying dead on the sea floor and a puffer fish deflating as it dies. It is a "tragic scene," he admits, but he doesn't linger on the fact that he created it."

Source: Cousteau and His Scientific Journey

Unless the reef he blew up just "happened" to be off the SAME coast as the Blue Hole, and unless he only used dynamite once, it is unlikely they are talking about another place. Also, if he used dynamite once, why would it be hard to believe that he did it there?
drbill
February 3rd, 2006, 10:35 AM
To judge Cousteau's actions in the 50's, 60's and 70's by today's standards is inappropriate. As one who considered himself a naturalist (admittedly in diapers), environmentalist and scientist through that period, things were not as clearly understood as they "are" today. The consequences of actions generally were not as well known.

Cousteau was initially an explorer rather than a biologist, but he grew to really love and care for the seas he explored and the marine life in them. On the whole, his long-term effect in helping to preserve marine ecosystems was far more positive than negative.
RadRob
February 3rd, 2006, 10:52 AM
I don't see where anyone was judging him. My comment about what would happen to us was simply to show how much more regulated we are today. Personally, I am glad he did it. Now, ALL of us get to enjoy the ease of access to this fine dive site. I am also greatful for the advances and contributions he made.

The question here was is it true or is it a rumor. And I answered. That's all. No judgement.

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#341877 - 06/19/09 11:48 PM Re: Blasting coral at the Blue Hole-How times change [Re: Marty]
skippy Offline
"At one point they dynamite a remote coral reef just off the coast of Belize."

I remember that quite well. Never missed a Cousteau documentary when I was a kid. And his doing this doesn't lessen my regard for his accomplishments. Times change. Now it's time for $1.7 million fines for touching the coral with your boat. Next it will be the GOB letting developers destroy coral for docks or canals or whatever. Hmm? Already happening? Well there you go. Jacques was merely ahead of, not behind, the times.
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#341878 - 06/19/09 11:55 PM Re: Blasting coral at the Blue Hole-How times change [Re: Marty]
elbert Offline
Blasting an entrance would have made sense. If he didn't we would need to and if he did ...well Thanks Jacque!
He definitely took a stalactite out, its on display at the museum or at least was a few years back. He was an Explorer not a tree huger.
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#341890 - 06/20/09 02:32 AM Re: Blasting coral at the Blue Hole-How times change [Re: elbert]
bywarren Offline
Interesting logic, Elbert. So does that mean that they should blast larger cuts to allow bigger boats to reach San Pedro?

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#341899 - 06/20/09 04:12 AM Re: Blasting coral at the Blue Hole-How times change [Re: bywarren]
Peter Jones Offline
I certainly think the main "San Pedro" channel should be blasted to make the entrance a bit deeper and more uniform, so as to reduce the severe waves found there on rough days. No need to widen it, and the material removed, even if coral, is already dead. Possibly also at one or two other channels as well. Should save a lot of grief with wrecked boats. It'll never happen of course, unless some politician or senior Government officer finds a way of making money from it.

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#341900 - 06/20/09 01:18 PM Re: Blasting coral at the Blue Hole-How times change [Re: Peter Jones]
bywarren Offline
It appears the GOB has found ways to make money off of it leaving it the way it is.

And, it is interesting how people justify "altering" the marine eco-system based on their interests.

We have developers dredging and clearing to manufacture more land. And we have people in the dive industry condoning blasting of the reef so dive boats can get to the Blue Hole and suggesting more destruction of the "Barrier Reef" to allow boats easier access. I guess if we blast enough of it away we can find another name to call it besides "Barrier".

Good thing they oppose each other's actions. Well at least some of the dive people oppose the developers. Lets hope they don't join forces. frown

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#341923 - 06/20/09 05:25 PM Re: Blasting coral at the Blue Hole-How times change [Re: bywarren]
papashine Offline
Its the old story of dollar versus ecology, so far the dollar has not lost any bouts. Maybe now that people are starting to realize that there are dollars involved with ecology things may have a chance to change but I wouldn't hold my breath.
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