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Behind the Scenes: Belize Reef: Frigates and Boobies


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This show was one of the first two we filmed, and took place in an area of the world where I lived as a teenager: Belize! I actually used to go to the Caye that you see in the show. In fact, I once fell asleep on that island and got a terrible sunburn that blistered. It's the type of mistake you only make once. Belize remains one of my favorite places in the world.

 

Back I enjoyed swimming with the loggerhead turtle in the show. I swam with him for awhile, letting him relax before I tried to approach him. I had to wait for the turtle to give his "permission" to play around with him. He seemed to enjoy it, too -- he stayed around!
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I did get to use the re-breather for some time during the dives. The re-breather is a new technology that recycles your own exhaled air and mixes it with compressed air. But I was at 30-35 feet, heading down to 40 feet, when all of a sudden there was nothing there to breathe! I was able to get it operating again -- I think the air had backed up and made a vacuum bubble in one of the tubes. It was also hard to equalize the pressure on my ears, because there wasn't enough room for the microphone and my nose piece, and I couldn't hold my nose and push out on my ear drums. It got pretty painful the deeper I went.

 

Back The eagle ray caused me a bit of a problem. I was on an underwater wall that went down thousands of feet, following the beautiful spotted ray. At 130 feet down, I started to feel a little confused and giddy. This was due to something called nitrogen narcosis, which is caused when you dive deep and the nitrogen levels climb in your blood. But, as I mentioned on the show, you always dive with a buddy, and mine called me back up from chasing the ray. I recovered quickly.
Back I really enjoyed that night dive. Though the moray eel looks pretty vicious, they are actually pretty docile and will leave you alone if you leave them alone.

 

Back Oh, and the island of frigate birds? My hat did keep the droppings off my face, but my clothes got covered! I looked like a painter by the time I was done! The birds splattered continuously. And in the 100-degree heat, the smell was intense -- considering that whole island is made up of frigate bird droppings!