Fear & Loving: Where Sea Level Meets the Deep – a literary blogstory – PART TWO

Dive Logs 26 and 27: Corals Dodged a Bullet This Year?

John U. Lloyd State Park
Broward County, FL

21 and 23 September 2016

Freedives

Very healthy Elliptical Star Coral -- happy to see him, well I mean "them" :) © J. Manos

Very healthy Elliptical Star Coral — happy to see him, well I mean “them” 🙂 © J. Manos

We’re at the end of the high-alert coral bleaching season, and it looks like we’re dodging a bullet this year, at least as far as an expected severe bleaching of corals followed by mass die-off, as happened recently on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

The first dive was on Wednesday evening near shark o’clock so I did not go out that far — around 11-14 feet. It was kind of murky, and my wires were up.

Surface water temperature was 88 degrees.

End of Dive Wednesday Sept. 21, 2016 .. it's Shark O'clock out there so good to get out of the water. © J. Manos

End of Dive Wednesday Sept. 21, 2016 .. it’s Shark O’clock out there so good to get out of the water. © J. Manos


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53-3

The second set of freedives was at bright high noon on Friday with a maximum depth to 20 feet and sea surface temp was 84 degrees.

Practicing my dynamic breath-holding while diving under and staying as long as I can. Air is pretty remarkable.

© J. Manos

© J. Manos

According to NOAA and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Coral Reef Conservation Program:

“Corals start to become stressed when sea surface temperature is 1 degrees Celsius greater than the highest monthly average. Coral bleaching risk increases if the temperature stays elevated for an extended period of time.”

Healthy Smooth Star Coral. © J. Manos

Healthy Smooth Star Coral. © J. Manos

Paling Smooth Star Coral and French Angelfish. © J. Manos

Paling Smooth Star Coral and French Angelfish. © J. Manos

Paling Knobby Brain Coral. © J. Manos

Paling Knobby Brain Coral. © J. Manos

Signs of paling (precursor to bleaching) and bleaching here, and some coral disease, which is a whole additional issue, but this year these corals should make it this year.

Dying Smooth Star Coral: white plague disease is a threat in addition to bleaching from climate change. © J. Manos

Dying Smooth Star Coral: white plague disease is a threat in addition to bleaching from climate change. © J. Manos

They’re faring better than the staghorns.

As of the end of September, the 2016 bleach watch threat has been downgraded to LOW.

But there is almost no way we can avoid rising sea temperatures in the coming years.

It’s like we’re holding our breath for the whole world.

I hate to piss in the ocean.

Waterlogged, dripping, I caught sight of myself in front of the bathroom mirror and stopped, face forward, shoulders square. wet-heavy clothes draining down my legs.

I just stared, listened.

The last of the summer heat baked outside, insects buzzing in all that peak green vegetation.

My dive boots were caked in damp sand. A puddle began forming on the concrete floor. The concrete was rough.

These white-painted wooden buildings up on stilts in natural parks from Florida to Texas always make me think of the Old South for some reason. On the outside anyway. But hey I don’t know shit about architecture.

© J. Manos

© J. Manos


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Download the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Coral Reef Conservation Program
SEAFAN BleachWatch Program Current Conditions Report
September 29, 2016


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