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Quote of the Day - If you asked me to name the three scariest threats facing the human race, I would give the same answer that most people would: nuclear war, global warming and Windows. - Dave Barry
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MIPTC's South Seas Journal: Underwater In Australia's Great Barrier Reef Day Five

Most of the underwater life across the  globe lies just 30-40 feet below the surface, and snorkeling barely scratches the surface of it, so to speak.  Scuba diving opens up the two-thirds of the world most of us never see.  According to some, it may not last forever if we don't soon do something about global warming.

If my almost 20 hours logged in the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef are any indication, we're dangerously close.  I can't claim any scientific knowledge to back me up and certainly not any statistical studies, either.  Just diving over the last 30 or so years of my life and my eyes.

To be sure, The Reef is riotously exquisite in its diversity and population of fish.  But slight changes in depth would ruin the myriad schools of fish, colorful and plentiful soft coral and dependable hard corals that rely on zooplankton for nourishment.  Let me see if I can describe what would be lost if we don't start eliminating excess emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

While diving The Reef these past several days, two things are immediately obvious:  diversity  and quantity.  Imagine a bright, neon red-flamed file shell (from the clam family)  tucked away in a hole in the side of a underwater pinnacle extending down over 100 feet into the abyss.  The clam is not  at all what you think.  Over and under its narrow shell opening, five-inch tentacles extend outward like fishing lures, and its thin lips flash a white/blue neon electric charge across from the outside to the middle like a cheap motel inviting unwary guests into its waiting jaws.

Then turn away from the pinnacle, and you are floating amongst bright, brilliant blue fish with an equally sharp and distinctive stripe of yellow down its side, as fluid as a blanket waved over top of a bed, and as thick as the bed itself, but extending in a circle, enveloping one side of the pinnacle in a swath moving with the ocean surge, darting as the large pelagic fish swoop in from the deep for a quick bite.

It would be a shame to sit idly by and lose this wonderful resource.  Especially if you haven't had the chance to see it yet.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, March 31, 2007 at 17:55 Comments Closed (0) |
 
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