Yesterday I went on one of the most intense boat rides of my life. It was fairly windy and rainy but there was no advisory for small crafts so we decided to go. For the first part of the afternoon we decided to head to a close island- Big Bustard. There we hopped into the water and immediately found a suitcase about 30 feet down.
Almost immediately it was clear that the coral in the area has not been doing well. While there are healthy parts in most sections of the reef, the majority of the reef shows some sign of damage. There are toppled pieces, bleaching pieces, broken pieces, along with dead coral. In the photos most of the brown is algae that is covering the dead coral.
The next thing I noticed was a large amount of trash in the area.
After a while off of Big Bustard we decided to head to a shipwreck- the Prinz Eugen located off of another island.
Most of the wreck is underwater so to get video of the length of it, we attached a GoPro to a device that let us drag it off the back of the boat. None of the video showed the boat because the water was too murky from the storm. At this point our radio went dead. We then turned out from around the wreck and were met by 5 ft waves that put more water in the boat than was comfortable. So we headed back.
Also, I found this really odd coral head. It seems like a calcium carbonate rock with an anemone or soft coral covering. My friends and family and I all have a different idea of what it is so to be honest I don't know what it is.
Clemson Geopaths Intern