The Rainforests of the Sea
Holidays on Kenya's Coast...full of corals, fish and marine life.
However, before you plunge in, help protect this fragile and diminishing environment.
Coral reefs thrive with productivity, lining some 6,000 miles
of coasts along 109 countries. How? Self-sufficient corals use solar power (sunlight)
and recycle their waste in underwater cities. Ocean waves wash the corals clean
of sediment and bring in nutrients such as oxygen and carbon dioxide, stimulating
Coral structures are colonies of tiny, soft-bodied animals, growing
approximately one inch/year, in warm, shallow, ocean waters. Getting their color
from algae, corals are thriving fish nurseries and the spawning grounds of many
commercially important species.
However, due to the nutrient poor and clear water of tropical
seas, corals are vulnerable to anything that changes the water characteristics.
Excessive carbon emissions, sediments and nutrients from deforestation and human
activities are particularly harmful to reefs.
Here are some of Jean-Michel Cousteau's tips for what you can
do to have fun under the sea while protecting the reefs too:
1. Make sure you're comfortable in the water; don't panic and
break pieces of reef with your fins accidentally.
2. Look but don't touch; avoid all contact with the bottom or marine life at all
3. Don't kick sand in the reef's face as you may choke the coral with a burst
4. Anchor or tie your boat to established moorings; corals are not hitching posts!
5. Leave it behind. As the underwater world recycles everything, you may disrupt
the fragile ecosystem by taking shells from the sea or beach.
6. Keep it clean and avoid polluting the ocean with your rubbish, oil or fuel.
Copyright Anne Loehr of Eco-resorts