By Cody Coates
From May 10, 2018
Today our group met with Ronald who works with the SMMA in Soufrière. Our groups task was to learn how to splice rope for the SMMA and the NOAA scientists to use. NOAA and the SMAA work closely together to support the marine protected area. The SMMA does not receive government funding but does generate some revenue from renting out mooring buoys for dive boats and yachts. It is difficult for them to get the man power to splice large amounts of ropes for the mooring lines that the buoys need. Moorings help keep boats from anchoring on the reef and damaging it. Our groups were trained by Ronald on how to splice the rope and we were left to splice both ends of our rope. Splicing rope is important for retaining the integrity of the rope. Splicing is better than tying a knot because it helps the rope maintain up to 80% of its strength. All three of our groups will be working on splicing rope for the SMAA and NOAA to be used for mooring pickup lines and weather buoys.
The authors of this blog are students enrolled in Tropical Marine Ecology and Conservation, field courses run in the Caribbean by the University of South Florida. In 2019, the course went to the Carmabi research station in Curaçao and dived around the island over a 10-day period, for training and to carry out research projects. In 2018, the group went to Soufriere, Saint Lucia, and took part in various projects in partnership with the Soufriere Marine Management Association. In this blog, students will document their activities and how they relate to course material.