Friday, June 15, 2018
NOW Friday, June 15
On Thursday Elaine, Marie and I did my traditional birthday dive (even though my birthday isn't until Saturday). This was my first time in the water since I broke my wrist. And, it was the first time diving the reef at Natural since Hurricane Maria.
I've heard from other divers that Natural was pretty devastated and they weren't wrong. Even now, nine months after the hurricane, the reef looks barren to those of us who knew it before. Most - but not all - the huge barrel sponges are gone as are soft fan corals and the little lavender vase sponges. We did find a couple starting to make a comeback, though.
There are new things we don't usually see at Natural taking up residence, like these anemones.
Tiny fish, like the gobys and the little blue chromis love the anemones. We saw several of them.
It was rare to see sea urchins at Natural. The newly exposed crevices in the rocks, uncovered when the sand washed away in the hurricane, are home to gazillions of sea urchins. That's bad news for the feet but good news for the reef.
And other life is returning as well like this squirrelfish and scorpion fish.
Natural, like Crashboat, is going to be fun to dive and watch over the next few years as Mother Ocean rejuvenates the reef. Can't wait to watch!