In the past two months we have seen a major change in the weather; from hot, still, dry days in April to wild, wet and windy days in May. Now Hulhangu is in full swing. Unfortunately this change hasn’t come soon enough for the water temperatures and after such a warm dry season we are experiencing unusually high water temperatures.
So far we have noticed a small amount of coral bleaching at our local reefs as a result of the unusually high temperatures. Hopefully now that the weather has become much cooler, the increase in water temperature will stop and further coral bleaching will be avoided.
The unusual weather and water temperatures have not altered the amount of marine life have encountered. During our snorkeling trips we have spotted several honeycomb moray eels, napoleon wrasse and barracuda. Although in the past two months we have only had glimpses of black tip reef sharks – this may be because the water in the shallows, where they are normally sighted, has had extremely warm water and they may have moved into slightly deeper, cooler water.
Sightings of new marine life around our coral garden have continued with several juvenile batfish spotted underneath the coral frames. We have also spotted hermit crabs and the resident octopus blending into the reef.
Our coral garden has continued to grow with the plantation of six new coral frames. As Hulhangu as come into full swing we have upped our level of maintenance on the coral frames as the chance of algal infestation increases at this time of year. We are also keeping a close eye on the coral frames for any signs of coral bleaching; the coral fragments that are used for the coral frames are from coral colonies that survived previous bleaching events so we hope they will be resilient.