Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mona Island, exploring the Acropora palmata reef, circa 1982

Acropora palmata, notice the extreme clarity of the water
Various types of coral, In the center of the photo Jorge Saliva, notice the puny arm lacking the basketball sized muscles that later appeared there
The reef crest was haunted by an unbelievable quantity of fish
There was coral all over the place

I took these few photos of the coral at the reef that borders the Sardinera beach in Mona Island.  At the time visiting this reef was for me a new and unbelievable exciting thing.  I took just a few photos because I was too busy drinking deeply from the incredible experiece of snorkeling there.   There were so many things to see and explore that it was like visiting an alien city in outer space.  The diversity of corals, fish and invertebrates made this place a dream experience for a biologist that had read all about them in the books but had not until them too much oportunity to see them in the flesh.  I have been told that the reef I visited so many years ago no longer exists, that most of the Acropora has died, that there are much less fish and algae reigns supreme.  I vividly remember marveling at a school of large parrot fish, two feet long feeding in water that was less than three feet deep.  These photos stand as a testament of the beauty that was and hopefully some day will again be.

1 comment:

BirdofWoodArtStudio said...

The near same experiences I had as a teen living on Culebra Island in the early 70's a time when the U.S. Navy was still conducting military exercises along the Flamenco Peninsula, for the most part the area below the OP near the man made shark repellent testing pool, the reefs, both dead and living coral structures, fish and water clarity were exceptional and impossibly beautiful. My recent visit to these same areas depressed me deeply for there was nothing left of the beauty an diversity I witnessed as a young kid.