Coral Reefs: what an enchanted world!

Part 2. Intuitive Connection

As many divers, I am always moved by the delicate harmony that emanates from coral reefs. The dreamlike alchemy, the surrealist beauty of this ecosystem touches us and reveals the intimate of what we are: an animal imprint, a forgotten memory. The mystery of life that is created before our eyes and spreads in all the oceans of the globe exceeds the imagination. It’s impossible to resist! We fall in admiration and love of all these species whose dazzling colors, shapes and textures come straight from the head of a little benevolent genius.

The emotions that cross us when we dive or snorkel on coral reefs, are the signs that a primary bond that goes beyond our consciences unites us to ocean and life. Our soul carry this intuitive connection with ecosystem. A peaceful harmony floods our cells. We are united and united by the oceans. It is a deep, intense vibration, a spiritual alchemy.

For some time now, I have been particularly fond of divers who wish to practice breathing and relaxation exercises before and after dives. This multiplies our relaxation and opens our body and our mind to sublimate the intensity of the sensations that invade us during our stay in the water. The feeling is powerful, for some, it can even be upsetting. I call this happiness therapy and it’s a real treat to practice it every day. It is also fun to see that the dives naturally take on another dimension. Taking time and apprehending the dive, no longer as a series of repetitive launches scheduled in a day, but rather as a wellness activity in its own right, leads to beautiful discoveries self and on others. It also changes the way we look at the ecosystem, the biodiversity, and that invites us to be even more respectful.

Before going far away in the understanding of this ecosystem, it’s important to define what we are talking about. Biodiversity means also difficulty to simplify identification. Let’s try to do it!

Generally, coral polyp is a spineless animal with a fleshy body, topped by tentacles and a central mouth. In hard corals, the poly sits in a limestone skeletal case called corallite. The corallite is secreted by the polyp, it grows and becomes the reef structure. Within the tissue of most corals lives an algae called zooxanthellae. This algae use photosynthesis to provide the polyps nutritional needs.

Soft corals can seems similar with their fleshy body but they do not have a limestone skeleton. When you look at them, you can count the 8 tentacles. Hard corals have 6 or multiples of 6.

If you have a doubt between hard and soft coral, just make a left right move with your hand a few centimeters over the tentacles. If these retract into the skeleton, it is hard coral. Soft coral does not retract.

Most corals feed at night. With the help of their tentacles, they capture the nutrients that drift in the water with the current. As all the polyps are connected to each other, the food caught by some benefits the whole.

Next soon… What is whitening and what are the main dangers facing a coral reef?