Monday, January 12, 2009
Preparing Corals for the Nursery
Everything seemed to work against us today. Our goal was to return to the dead reef to plant more corals, but the water surface was covered with jellyfish, so obviously we couldn’t dive there. Also creating difficulty was that it was quite windy, thus the surface was very choppy, so we abandoned the attempt to plant corals. Instead, the marine biologists from the Phuket Marine Biological Center, who joined us for the day, Andrew and two divemasters went in the water to cut fragments of corals from donor colonies to stock the underwater nursery. The class spent a couple hours in the morning putting these 300 coral fragments into plastic tubes, and then inserted the tubes into a mesh screen to be placed in the nursery. Next year’s class will plant these fragments into a dead reef. Above, you see photos from the class working on the boat with the coral fragments. All students are in the photos except for Lauren, who has an ear infection and could not join us on the boat. Andrew’s small zodiac boat had engine problems, so after we had lunch on the boat at Maya Bay (where the movie “The Beach” was filmed), we had a couple hours to kill, so we swam to a nearby smaller beach near where our boat was moored. After we recovered the missing zodiac, we dove in that same spot by the beach and shot our underwater class photo. I hope to get that posted sometime soon, but it’s not on my camera. Visibilty is quite poor, however, because we have a full moon, thus high current levels, and the high winds create choppy seas. These factors combine to churn up the ocean, thereby reducing visibility. Still, following the class photo, this was a interesting dive with fun swim-throughs.