Yesterday we decided that four of us would go visit the indigenous Garifuna communities in various parts of the small keys, with the object of documenting their traditional way of life and sustainable exploitation of the waters that surround their villages.
To document the daily life of the community we wake at five in the morning, prepare the filming equipment and go to the dock just as dawn is breaking. The gray of the sky gives way to blue, then orange and finally to the yellow of day, despite the clouds.
We wait for Elías Aguilar to bring us to Cayo Chachahuate. Children from this key and others are sent off each day in tiny boats to the community's school, which sits on the eastern end of Cayo Mayor. The boats are like inter-island school busses. Finally we hear from Elias that, because the night before had been windy and the water today is rough, the kids don't have school. So there is a change of plans.
The wind picks up; even from shore we can see the currents it is creating. A brown pelican takes advantage of the opportunity to show off his first catch of the morning. In a razor-sharp flight, almost touching the waves, he locates his breakfast and, seconds later, with an unorthodox landing, plunges his head into the water and captures his prey. He's so close to us that we can see the last thrashes of the fish in the pocket of his beak. This show alone is worth the painful early morning.