One of the things I love to do the most, is snorkeling in the ocean and look at all the beautiful creatures just busy doing their thing. Peter had the idea, already some time ago, to visit a reef octopus and give him some shrimp. The last time, we missed the octopus, but we spotted a lot of other fish, which was also fun. See the fish-spotting video here:
But this week, I could make a video of the Octopus twice! I think it looks amazing. The fast color switching, the active tentacles and curling up in his home. It is awesome to look at it live, but seeing it back on the video makes it even better. I also have to check out the Netflix documentary of My Octopus Teacher, maybe he has some advice on how to be kind to an octopus. I don’t want to disturb him, and keep the surroundings at peace as much as possible, so I don’t touch anything and keep my distance.
It is weird to see the effects of climate change so tangible. I went to the same spot twice and I was shocked by the progression of the bleaching of the Brain Coral. In five days, it looked like the bleaching was 5-10% more.
I thought this was very interesting, found on the website of the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NOAA). It is a Q&A with NOAA Coral Reef Watch Director, Derek Manzello:
“Manzello: If ocean temperatures are higher than the maximum monthly average, for a month or more, especially during the warmest part of the year — even by as little as 1-2 degrees Celsius (2-3 degrees Fahrenheit) — corals will experience bleaching.
A bleached coral is essentially starving to death because it has lost its main source of nutrition — the algae that live symbiotically within its tissues. The damage corals experience from marine heatwaves is a function of the duration, or how long the heat stress occurs, plus the magnitude of the heat stress. Corals can recover from bleaching if the heat stress subsides, but the corals that are able to recover frequently have impaired growth and reproduction, and are susceptible to disease for two to four years after recovery. There are downstream, negative impacts to the corals that are able to survive a heat stress event.
If the heat stress does not subside, the coral will die. Mortality becomes likely if the corals experience sea temperatures 1°C greater than the historical maximum monthly average for two months, or 2°C greater than the maximum monthly average for one month. Also, if there is a temperature deviation of say 3°C, then the corals would be expected to start experiencing mortality in less than three weeks. “
So this poor Brain Coral is experiencing some significant stress, it hasn’t died yet, but the consequences will be severe. Also for Bonaire, if the coral dies, it will be a quiet ‘Divers Paradise’. It is sad, but I think it is the future. If I read the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we are in trouble because temperatures are rising and there are not many precautions taken by governments (the Dutch government subsidies fossil fuels with 40 billion euro). With a global warming of 2 degrees Celsius, 99% of all corals would be lost. According to data from Copernicus, a program of the European Union with focus on climate change: The June-July-August (JJA) season for 2023 was the warmest on record globally by a large margin, with an average temperature of 16.77°C, 0.66°C above average. It is obvious what will happen, and I don’t think the governments (worldwide) are doing the things necessary to protect earth. To document the beautiful nature as it is now, is the least I can do (next to lifestyle changes and voting for environment-conscious politicians), because in five to ten years, it probably will be gone. And documenting I did! Here is the result of the second visit, where the camera was a bit more stable:
Next to having fun with filming fishes and the Octopus, we also did some work on LIV! This update-video doesn’t show that much progress, because I forgot I also had to remove a lot of loose parts. There is wood screwed to the ribs of the boat. Ribs are the lines that go from the deck to the bilge to support the structure of the boat and I think the wood is there for support too, but I am not sure. If you have an idea why that is there, please let me know! Because those blocks are pretty rotten and I don’t know if we should put them back (only when we sanded and treated them, or replace them completely).
In this video I included a road trip (from our house to the boat yard), next to a turtle I spotted when I visited Octo for the second time and a bird that was having a very active diner.