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Watamu - place for snorkelling and scuba diving.

Eco Diving and Snorkelling

You can be just as eco-friendly in the sea as on land! Here are some tips for being eco-friendly under water:

  • Look, don’t touch – Corals are made up of hundreds of living, feeding ‘polyps’. If you touch the coral you will kill the polyps; algae can then begin to grow in their place, eventually smothering the entire coral head.
  • Be aware of your fins - A careless fin stroke too near the bottom causes coral to break off, sand to swirl up (consequently smothering nearby coral), and disturbs the bottom-dwelling marine life.
  • Do not feed Coral Reef fish - Although seemingly harmless, feeding fish may disturb their normal feeding patterns and diets, which cause the fish to be aggressive or stressed.
  • Do not pick up shells - Most of the underwater shells are homes to living creatures, whether it is the original snail / animal or a sheltering hermit crab. Certain shells pay a vital role in the health of the reef, such as the large, horn shaped ‘triton trumpet’ shell, the only natural predator of the dreaded Crown of Thorn starfish. If the Crown of Thorn starfish population explodes due to lack of predators, they are capable of consuming entire reef systems and killing all the coral in sight.
  • Breaking off pieces of coral underwater to “take home as a souvenir” destroys coral reefs and is pointless. The colourful coral will lose its colour once it’s taken out of the water and the coral polyps start to die.
  • Be aware of your boat driver’s practices - Encourage the crew to only tie up on buoys. If anchors have to be thrown, ensure they are put in sandy areas; keep checking to ensure the anchor is not loose and dragging through the coral.
  • Hanging onto marine life such as turtles, dolphins and whale sharks can stress the creature, and will frighten the creature. Maintain a slight distance; the creature will calm down and spend longer in your vicinity.
  • Do not throw rubbish in the sea. Beer cans, plastic bags, plastic bottles and fishing line can float in the sea for years, causing a threat to many forms of marine life. Turtles can mistake a plastic bag for a jellyfish, swallow it, and then slowly starve to death as their systems are unable to digest plastic. Fishing line wraps around corals and eventually weakens and breaks them.

Thanks to Aquaventures, Watamu for their information. For more information on eco-diving, contact aquav@africaonline.co.ke.


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