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March 2024    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 50, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Bonaire, Belize, Rangiroa, Fiji, Indonesia

dying coral, schools of sharks, super photography course

from the March, 2024 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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For several decades, we have collected readers' diving trip report. Lately, it's been heartbreaking to read about coral bleaching and diseases throughout the Caribbean and elsewhere. Researchers found that in the Florida Keys, only 22 percent of the nurseryraised staghorn coral that had been transplanted at five Florida reef sites survived the 2023 summer heat wave. That doesn't bode well for the efforts to restore coral colonies or the existing reefs. Here's what readers say.

The reefs are under aggressive attack from SCTLD and bleaching, and 60-70 percent seem affected.

The Caribbean

Leslie Russum (Broomfield, CO) dived with Belize's Ramon's Village in December and reported: "The hard corals have been hit hard - the lettuce corals were 100 percent bleached. The brain corals are starting to bleach, as are the cactus corals. The DMs said all the pillar corals died in the past three years. They believe if the water temperatures improve in a few months, there is hope for the coral to recover."

From the '90s, Ramon's has been Ambergris Caye's go-to resort, but Russum says, "The current owner is not investing in the resort and dive operation. Small things are not being repaired. They are trying to convince him to replace the Nitrox system." Undercurrent reported last May that Ramon's had replaced their boat windshield with ordinary window glass, which shattered when a bow wave hit it, lacerating a diver's leg and permanently disabling her. She had to stage an expensive legal fight in Belize to get at least some compensation for her injury.

The more charming Caye Caulker is 20 miles away, where Marcia Pederson (Deming, WA) dived in January with Frenchies. "Great crew. Half Moon Wall was the best dive, with lots of marine life, beautiful topography, and great vis and color. Throughout the week, we saw many sharks, a few morays, a couple of rays, a turtle, jacks, parrotfish, nudibranchs, crabs, good-sized groupers, lobsters, and only a few lionfish - lots of big sponges, various fans, and corals. There are nice rooms and a good restaurant at Island Magic. Next time, I want to be closer to the Turneffe area to avoid long boat rides."

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