Catacomb Reef and Boynton Comb Reef
off Boynton Beach, FL
23 July 2016
Scuba dive: max depths 70′ and 64′
How Much Color We Don’t See!
I have a question: Why do these sea creatures, these corals, sponges, fish, crustaceans, mollusks etc., create so much explosive color down in the depths where there is little and eventually no sunlight?
Beyond 10 feet underwater, our human eyes start to lose ability to see colors, with red going first, followed by orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and at last violet.
What is it that they see? What are they expressing, and to whom? Clearly not to us!
And they have been doing this for millions and millions of years, long before we were around.
But when a photographer uses a light or flash that has the characteristics of the sun, the real colors are revealed, and they are extraordinary. Why?
Underwater reefs remind me of far-flung galaxies photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope.
* * *
With my scuba training review course finished, I finally felt up to speed to go on a 2 tank boat dive with DIVERSe Orlando.
I stepped off the boat holding the dive flag the boat’s dive master had handed me. I was to hand it to Aubra once in the water.
Somebody previous had not properly attached the coiled yellow rope and it came off as I hit. I watched sickened at the sight of it sinking down into the green water below.
Damnit even when you try so hard to not cause any harm, shit happens.
Now that rope could be a hazard to marine life down there for a long time unless some other diver eventually sees it and brings it back up.
I was pissed but had to pay attention because the whole crew was already descending to 70 feet.
Catacomb Reef at the bottom sprawled outward, every inch filled with life and color.
I had forgotten the red filter for my GoPro. Everything I filmed would be greenish.
I leveled out, hurriedly adjusting my buoyancy so I did not touch the reef at all.
One of my fins did kick up some sediment. Not good. I moved upward to level out horizontally.
A main rule of diving is to master your buoyancy and never touch the reef or any marine life.
No bleaching was seen.
Out in Australia, 93% of the Great Barrier Reef has bleached out. A third of it has died completely.
It’s likely only a matter of time before our reefs are hit severely too.
Considering this, the rough talking dive master lady on the boat who sounded like cigarettes said: “We’re on the precipice.” She wasn’t talking about underwater topography.
As I got my buoyancy under control and we began swimming a few feet above this underwater civilization, the last of my surface-world thoughts came:
Diving at the end of the world…
Later, back on board, a diver from another group said a 7 foot hammerhead shark rushed him. Then swerved away at the last minute.
I grinned and didn’t say a word, other than: You know they’re endangered around the world, right?