Most reef-building corals contain photosynthetic algae, called zooxanthellae, that live in their tissues. The corals and algae have a mutualistic relationship. The coral provides the algae with a protected environment and compounds they need for photosynthesis. In return, the algae produce oxygen and help the coral to remove wastes. Most importantly, zooxanthellae supply the coral with glucose, glycerol, and amino acids, which are the products of photosynthesis. The coral uses these products to make proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, and produce calcium carbonate. (Source: NOAA Ocean Service Education)
We got to see these coral polyps and their symbiotic algae photosynthesising, under UV light, in the educational Underwater World aquarium at Birdworld in Farnham. It’s mesmerisingly beautiful! The colour that we associate with coral reefs is derived from the algae living within the tissue. When a reef is put under physical stress, the coral polyps actually expel the algae leaving the structures a stark white. This is the tragic, mass death of large areas of reef that we call “bleaching”. Seeing the living coral made this disatrous phenomenon all the more real to me. I’m posting this image for Wex Mondays this week and I hope that it will lead others to think about the plight of our precious coral reefs.
An underwater apparition from the flooded quarry at the National Diving and Activity Centre (NDAC). Simon and I went up to the centre, near Chepstow, on Saturday to get in a couple of freshwater dives. This British Aerospace Jetstream 200 has been one of the attractions at the site since 2006 and can be found at the north end of the quarry, at a depth of eleven metres. Visibility is usually better than the five metres, or so, that we had this weekend. I rather enjoyed seeing the various wrecks appear, like ghosts, from the gloom ahead of us though. Taken using the Olympus Tough TG4, this image is my entry for Wex Mondays this week. Good luck to everyone taking part!
The dusky grouper we encountered during our dive on Saturday seemed to be quite fascinated by me! I was practically nose to nose with this character for quite a while.
We did two dives from the boat off the coast of Kos with Arian Diving Centre in Kardamena. I can thoroughly recommend joining them for a day if you’re over here!
Diving is one of the best things I have ever learnt to do!! I feel so free in the water. There’s so much beauty in the landscape, plants and wildlife. I will definitely write a longer blog about our experiences when we get back to the UK but I only have my phone with me to process images and post blogs at the moment!
I’m posting this for both the Fotospeed challenge and Wex Mondays this week, along with a gallery of a few other groupers! Enjoy 😀
These pretty little blue-finned fish are found in the seas of the Eastern Atlantic and The Mediterranean. It’s called a Damselfish (Chromis chromis) and we found these small ones in the seas off Kos this year. They are mostly juveniles, going by their colouring. They swim in shoals at depths between two and forty metres. I was incredibly lucky that this shoal came closer to the surface, while feeding on the rocks, where we were snorkeling!
We snorkel every year and I have been desperately trying to improve my few skills in underwater photography on each trip. The time has now come to attempt to delve a bit deeper into the blue seas of the Mediterranean! In order to do so, Simon and I are starting our PADI Open Water Dive (Scuba) training. At the moment we’re working on our coursework (knowledge development) with the dive video and manual. Lots to take in and memorise before our classroom theory, confined water and open water dives, starting in a couple of weeks time! I may not be particularly responsive online until we finish our course and, hopefully, get out certificates on December 5th. Keep your fingers (or fins!) crossed for us! I’ll try to keep posting (more fish perhaps?) but I apologise if you don’t hear anything more from me.
Another word that has come to mind as I thought about this week’s challenge is context.
The same subject seen from two completely contrasting perspectives tells a very different story.
In my first image, a beach-side taverna in Kos has it’s catch-of-the-day displayed in a drying rack. I’m showing you the octopus in reference to fresh seafood restaurants and traditional Greek dishes. Yum!
My second image is my photographic catch-of-the-day! Simon and I were privileged to swim with this octopus, out in the bay beyond the taverna, for quite some time, watching how it colour-changes to conceal itself or to communicate alarm. Seeing this intelligent creature propel itself through open water and squeeze through seemingly impossible crevices gave us a magical insight into their lives.
The whole context of a seafood supper was forever changed by this encounter! Not that I’ve given up on such delicacies. Clearly there is such a healthy population of octopuses in the Mediterranean that catching them for food is not an issue. Of course many of those swimming with us had absolutely no idea of the wonders-of-the-deep living right beneath them!