Monday, June 12, 2017

pigeon cay: a human tragedy unfolding

This is what Pigeon Cay, one of the Universe's masterpieces, looked like nine years ago. Heaven on earth. One of the most beautiful and magical places in our hemisphere.

I had not been to Pigeon Cay during the last eighteen months or so. I was shocked - SHOCKED! - at the apocalyptic scene I found when I visited two days ago! It seems climate change and rising sea levels are quickly destroying this amazing little island that we Bay Islanders cherish and love so much. The cay is now only about a fifth of its former size and the thick jungle of palms, shrubs, and trees down its center that held it together is nearly all dead or dying. The cay is unraveling and dissolving. Fast. It looks as if a bomb exploded on it. I am SO heartbroken! WHAT HAVE WE DONE?

I felt a deep sense of sadness and foreboding as we were leaving, as the boat floated away from the fragile remnants of our magical little Pigeon Cay. If something is not done -- and done fast -- I estimate that the cay will slip below the waves forever in the next three to five years (faster if we have a big storm come through). That would be a tragic loss for humanity. We humans are responsible for this. We have to at least try to do something to help! Please feel free to share this blog post and/or these photos with anyone you feel needs to know about this crisis and who might want/be able to help. The Bay Islands won't be the same without our beloved Pigeon Cay. 

After all...

...where will our black iguana buddies on the cay get to live if their home completely slips under the sea? Put yourself in their shoes.

Look him in the eye. Where?

The tragic plight of our cay and my iguana buddy reminded me of this song...




John S. said...

Tragic. Thank you for sharing. Sadly, I think we are past the point of 'no return' - at least in our lifetime. This has been predicted since the 1970s and mankind has done very little to stem the tide (pun intended). Will we learn from this for future generations? I am hopeful today's massive gatherings/marches for the 'climate' along with the growth of developing new clean technologies for energy will ever so slowly bring back a balanced global climate.

Unknown said...

This seems to be making the rounds and people are making some pretty bad assumptions about it. Let me first say that yes, this Cay (Pigeon Cays are more than one) is the most pitiful looking I've ever seen it (I've been doing tourist trips up there for for about 10 years and my first visit ever was when I was just three years old). The blogger is correct that the island is changing, but t's not a "Human Tragedy". The cay's sands shift depending on what time of year it is. They can be on the south side, north side, east or west side. The island can be straight or "L" shaped. The only part that didn't move was where the vegetation is (or was). About 2 years ago a big storm hit the island and knocked down the coconut trees. For about a year they were on their sides, but still alive making great backdrops for family photos. About six mouths ago a huge norther hit the island washing out the center (as seen in the recent photos). These two natural occurrences had nothing to do with recent human activities unless someone wants to blame rising sea levels and climate change, but 200,000 years ago the seas where high as well (look at iron shore around the Bay Islands) and there isn't much we can do about it either.
This being said there are numerous things that are happening that are bad for the cays and surrounding reef. Number one is the amount of trash being left behind by day trippers. This isn't being done by tourist excursions. On multiple visits I have removed large bags of plastic plates, trash, and cups left behind from family picnics. Simple rule should be if you bring it, take it back! Number two is that certain tour operators are encouraging poaching around the Cays. Now I'm not trying to infringe on a local's right to fish for food for his family, but fishermen up there are collecting undersized lobster and conch along with spearfishing anything they can shoot. There are no big fish on the reef and you're lucky if you see a lobster or conch. This should stop immediately! Number three is that certain tour operators are claiming parts of the island as theirs by building permanent tables, seats and cooking areas with old lumber and zinc. This is extremely ugly and I've witnessed on multiple occasions a tour operator pushing out another group that was there first because it was their "spot". Hopefully you're lucking enough not to be down wind when they start cooking. Number four is the ignorant tourist that needs to take a snorkel break by standing on the coral. They need to be told not to do this repeatedly!!! Number five, the helicopter tours that have been going to the cays should not be able to land if there are people on the cay. Most of the tour operators do not get to the cay until approximately 10am. There is no reason for them not to get there earlier (and leave earlier) with their speed.
Rant is over. Shame that the Cays have become a Corona commercial, but not much can be done about this except everyone respecting each other and the surrounding natural beauty.

Love You said...

Sad to see what's taking place with Pigeon Cay. it's a shocker! To Help preservation won't planting mangroves and more coconut trees and almond trees and thatch trees help preserve the Cay? Roatan Anglers has never taken tours to Pigeon Cay.

Unknown said...

First off, I agree with Aaron - nuff said. Second, for those who think/believe this is about man made climate change and how we should all care simple statement is, "Anyone who eats the flesh of other animals should Shut. Up. And. Sit. DOWN! Nothing changes our climate more than the production of beef for our eating pleasure...not even oil spills or plastic. For everyone who thinks if the United States would just give other countries $300Billion of money we don't have to save our planet - I say, "If you eat meat, shut up. And until DeCaprio stops flying alone on his private jet - I can't hear it anymore.

And, for reasons other than climate change, I stopped eating flesh and secretions 9 months ago after decades of loving me some beef pork and chicken but all the reading I have done on the subject makes me sick when I hear people yammer on about climate change as they cut up their rib eye in a fancy restaurant.