I ran out this morning to get new laces for my hiking boots. I had to get them ready because I am heading back out into the field on Monday.
I’ve been home for a couple months now—since July. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to get on the road, and life has certainly been interesting in the interim, but sometimes after you have traveled to the places, conducted the interviews and taken the photographs, you have to compile all that information and tell the story. That has been my focus lately.
The trip to Isla Natividad and the two trips to Honduras (see earlier blog posts) this year were part of what we are calling the Harvesting Diver Project. Around the world there are divers who harvest lobster, conch and other invertebrates from the sea using scuba or surface supplied air systems. They pay a terrible price for this work, often ending up paralyzed or dead. Their incidence of injury is at least 100 times greater than recreational divers and where severe injuries are rare for the average diver, they are the norm for harvesting divers.
When I made those trips, I could only allude to the situation in this blog because I didn’t want to jeopardize my ability to publish this story. Last week, National Geographic chose to spotlight the Harvesting Diver Project on its website. Next month, Alert Diver Magazine and AlertDiver.com will have an even more complete version of the story. In the meantime, you can see a short video I prepared from those three trips.
The harvesting diver examples in Honduras and Mexico are not the only high-risk harvesting diving that goes on, unfortunately. Dr. Matias Nochetto and I are heading to northeastern Brazil to meet with divers doing similar work, using a third style of harvesting techniques. I am sure it will be interesting and heartbreaking all at the same time. I invite you to follow along next week. I am not sure about my access to the internet, but assuming I can get online I will be posting next week and into the following week about what we see and encounter on this journey. The attached .kmz file will activate GoogleEarth and show you where we are headed.
I will freely admit that I am fortunate to be able to travel like I do and find adventure around the world. But there is adventure just down the street, too. So, my simple question before I pull out my passport and head to the airport is this:
Are your boots ready?.