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A Coral Learning Experience

23 November 2018

 

A beautiful location.

That morning, the view on the Candidasa Bay, with Mount Agung overlooking it was magical. The tide was low, the water very calm, it was a perfect day to learn about corals. We didn’t know what to expect when we booked this educative tour. We’ve been looking for an opportunity like that for a long time but never really got the chance. We’re not divers, but the fact that everything happens in very protected shallow water, and we got to see a lot of beautiful corals and fish in such a relaxed and comfortable way gave us a real desire to learn further and maybe get certified to dive. We will then be able to attend the more detailed coral diving course proposed by Ocean Gardener.

A Quick Introduction to the coral world.

It started with a very well organized simple course on basic coral biology over a cup of warm coffee. Did you know that corals were animals? But not only that, they live together with symbiotic unicellular algae? And this association was producing minerals! So they are animals with a plant that produces mineral! That’s amazing! We also found out that they were fighting each other and had sex! Wow, so much is happening in the coral world!

Time to get wet.

They equipped us with rash guards, booties, mask, and snorkel, and here we were ready to get wet! They took us through their coral nursery, in a meter of water, they explained to us all about corals, how the nursery works, the different species, the different colors, the fish living with the corals. We got to touch corals, and see the differences between hard and soft coral, understand why there are so many shapes and colors. This place is like an underwater rainbow, corals of all shapes, sizes, and colors. A lot of funny fish with unusual behavior were swimming among the corals. And it was great to find out, which one is what, and which want to eat what…

After cruising the nursery, they took us to the reef they planted many years ago and showed us what can be achieved if we take care of corals, and plant some as we would do with plant in our garden. That place was amazingly colorful, with many exciting fish. We got to learn about anemonefish, their very gregarious comportment, or some magnificent butterflyfish, which feed on coral polyps, or the doctor fish, which clean other fish from their parasites…

So many things to see and learn, and all this in just a meter of water! Then they showed us what natural reefs look like, and how different they are from their artificial reefs. So many fish and corals to look at!

Following a long and relaxing swim among marine life, we got to see the result of Coral Gardening on the reef, and all these small corals they planted along the years made the reef look amazing. We know now that we have to take care of the reef, and it will just look insane.

They got us to plant some corals, collecting bits of corals from their nursery, and planting on newly made artificial reefs. So we got our share of work!

A well-spent morning!

After we got out of the water, showered, fed some delicious local food, they finally showed us what was threatening the reefs. 

As they say, it’s only through education that people will start respecting and protecting corals. We can only protect what we know. And this is the purpose of Ocean Gardener, protecting through education.

So we highly recommend this tour, the satisfaction to be part of the solution is tremendous. We all have to learn and understand corals so that we can have them for our children! Finally, some solutions!

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