outplanting elkhorn coral, #climatechangeisnotahoax
beacon's co-owner cindy helps repopulate the fragile reef system of exumas cays in this edition of road vogue.
destination: exumas cays land and sea park, bahamas via cat ppalu 65ft catamaran from nassau harbor
purpose of journey: to SCUBA the exumas from liveaboard catamaran, outplanting coral and relocating sea urchins with marine biologist tanya kamerman.
never travel without: kindle, sun visor, beat up yet stylish rayban wayfarers
favorite outfit you packed: anne cole shear black and white wide leg pants, white SPF collared shirt, sun visor and sequined flip flops (gotta glam it up just a bit).
how many pairs of shoes: 3, helmut lang suede sneakers (for traveling), vionic sequined flip flops, teva sandals for going ashore but we never went on land so flip flops it was, all week.
what are you listening to: forth wanderers ep SLOP (amazing band from montclair, nj just out of high school) the feelies “in between” (amazing band of 40 years from hoboken, nj).
favorite meal: breakfast any day of the week. we had an amazing cook on board (caitlin!) there is something about waking up early to the smell of coffee and food cooking. always some sort of egg dish, cheese grits, french toast and a big thing of oatmeal. DIVERS NEED FUEL!!
highlight of the trip: my friends and i specifically chose this trip not only to recreationally dive for a week but for the opportunity to work with tanya kamarman, a marine biologist whose research is focused primarily on the bahamian reef system. she has built (almost single handedly) a coral nursery in the exuma cays sea park. she is growing coral to help repopulate the fragile reef system. over the course the week we worked on various tasks, cleaning the hooks and lines that attach the coral to the underwater frame of the nursery. we then took live coral fragments large enough for transplant from the nursery to other sections of the reef and out planted them, attaching them to rocks or dead reef with an non toxic epoxy that hardens in water (see picture). we also relocated spiny sea urchins to parts of the reef where they are (for unknown reasons) largely absent. the sea urchin’s presence is vital to a healthy reef system. they are also wicked cute little creatures.
the act of out planting the coral and relocating sea urchins was magical and rewarding and sometimes I had tears in my mask! the exumas cays, it’s system of reefs and over 350 small islands are perhaps my favorite place on earth. it is a place of pristine beauty and the clearest waters you will ever see. the animals that inhabit the land and sea park (coral is an animal) have been protected for over 40 years by the bahamian government, still because of warming sea temperatures I have seen the reef change in the last 10 years as a result of coral bleaching and it’s heart breaking. spending a week with passionate female scientists and other eco conscious divers was beyond inspiring and for me was a vital act of resistance against our current political climate. with a president who calls climate change “a hoax”, an administration with a dangerous disregard for science and an agenda to systematically dismantle the EPA and all its hard fought protections is something i cannot take lightly. these small acts of resistance add up. they matter. water is life. power to the people.
nassau harbor, getting ready to set sail on the cat ppalu
sergeant majors will follow you for rice krispies, note fish in left corner’s face. just sayin’
scrubbing a rock clean of algae in prep for outplanting. the vibrant reef of the exuma cays land and sea park!!
marine biologist tanya kamerman with her basket of sea urchins, leading us to the relocation site, so inspired by this woman!
a beautiful sea urchin headed to it’s new home! these guys are quick!! who knew?
divers headed to outplant
raising up some baby coral
sunset on the cat pplau-the exumas, bahamas
color photos by travis ruse
black and white photo by philip newton