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February 5, 2012
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We boarded an outboard motor skiff with captain, guide, and a motley assortment
of tourists from Canada who were staying at a resort several miles north of Placencia.
It entailed a lot of driving but they were a petroleum family--husband a pipeline foreman,
350-pound son
* a stock car racing hobbyist, and mom whooping and hollering when she
spied in passing a green and yellow tractor on a tiny resort island: "Whoo-oo! John Deere!
Gotta love that!" She seemed happiest when the 175hp engine was screaming full throttle
and leaned in close to savor the vapors when the captain switched gascans with a siphon
and toxic fumes permeated the air. We snorkeled around a tiny desert island right out of
a New Yorker cartoon and then went further out to where commercial fisherman often gut
their catch. The captain revved the motor repeatedly then tossed conch shells stuffed
with shrimp into the water. Three large sea turtles and a number of rays and barracuda
answered the call of the dinner bell engine. It's amazing to swim within touching distance
of these majestic animals, but I felt like an idiot having burned so much fuel--by air, land,
and water--for the privilege. The ocean is dying fast and my lifestyle contributes to that.
Is it possible to be both critic of and participant in the system without being a hypocrite?
*He wasn't actually there but mom proudly
 described him right down to exact weight.