Hope for Coral Reefs
The following is an excerpt of Aaron Hartman's weekly blog "Science Minded" for U-T San Diego.
"Curaçao is perhaps more industrialized and built up than other Caribbean islands, but its pockets of great beauty make it the gem that it is. This perspective, though, may even better depict the state of the island’s coral reefs: patches of magnificence....
...Despite what Caribbean-wide averages suggest, vestiges of reefs abundant with corals still exist. And Curaçao, the data show, is one such place.
.... When we look among the many reefs of Curaçao we find that the number of live corals varies dramatically reef-to-reef—some are teeming with life while others are graveyards. The crown jewels are the reefs of Easpoint, a sixteen-mile stretch of untouched chaparral wrapping the eastern tip of the island. Offshore live more corals than anywhere else on the island and their abundance more than triples the Caribbean-wide average.
...Efforts to conserve Eastpoint are alive, though, and one of my contributions is to add to a growing body of knowledge explaining why this area is so stunning. My colleagues and I are finding that certain species of coral produce more babies at Eastpoint than at other reefs. This not only bolsters local communities but it likely reseeds ailing reefs at other sites.
The larval phase is the only period during which these animals can move. Coral larvae are pushed by water currents, drifting with the sea until they find a place to settle down. As the fates would have it, currents consistently push water east to west along Curaçao, rendering every other reef on the island down current from Eastpoint’s seemingly abundant supply of offspring.
Eastpoint is vibrant and healthy in the absence of people and its physical location is of great fortune for the island as a whole, holding on as a shining example of the hope that still exists for Caribbean coral reefs."
All East Point dive sites - Smokey's, Black Rock, Hamrak - we visit by boat on a regular basis.