Kirk and Dana run a one week class for marine biology graduate students where they where they go to different shallow marine sites and document & photograph the marine life, they have two groups back to back. We hooked up with the second group and set up a recreational dive doing
Rich's Canyon and Blackbeard's Treasure Hole. A total of eight divers, a couple of instructors, a couple of dive masters and a couple of rescue divers.
On the ride out we discussed the dive sites, what we would see on each dive, made sure everyone was comfortable doing the chimney on Rich's canyon, a closed swim through and Kate volunteered to do a coral count on Rich's Canyon. I explained that there was not as many species of coral on Rich's Canyon as on Blackbeard's.
After the dive Kate advised she had identified 27 species of coral, and then proceed to read off the list using the scientific names. Wait, I only work with the "common name". So for example, Porites asteroids (PAST) is Mustard Hill coral. Lets just stick with the common names for now.
Visibility was close to 100', water temperature was 78 degrees, 1' seas.
Our second dive was on Blackbeard's Treasure Hole. After the second dive my favorite comment heard was, "So this is what a real Caribbean coral reef is supposed to look like."
Kate documented 34 different species of coral on Blackbeard's, I had previously identified 26. The dive lasted for 55 minutes with lots of photographs being taken.
A couple of interesting shots from Blackbeard's, first the Trumpet fish trying to hang on the Nassau grouper and a couple of Queen Parrott fish eating algae off the dead coral areas, turn up the volume and you can hear them crunching.
Two great dives with some very excellent and skilled divers. What a treat to sit around and talk with ten (10) marine biologist about reef preservation, all the different species of coral and fish. They had a great time, you could tell by the smiles on their faces. It is always special when you can share your passion with others who have the same passion.
Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale Florida, looks like a wonderful Marine Biology program, here is a link to "Currents", their newsletter.
Reef preservation is high on their priority list as it is with Ocean Fox Cotton Bay, "Save the Reefs". Next time when they are back and we go to the shark site we will be talking about "Save the Sharks, feed them lion fish and Save the Reefs."