Dive on elbow reef
by Lizzie Perez on Jul 17, 2021
First stop was a wreck called City of Washington, well over a hundred years old but still fascinating. The highlight of this dive were the four flamingo tongues I spotted in a grove of sea fans. These little sea snails have been endangered for quite some time and are considered a rare find while diving. As gastropod mollusks, they actually stretch their skin over their shells. However, this misled many divers to try and collect them for their striking spotted patterns. Without the skin, flamingo tongue shells are actually a soft peach or white in color. On this wreck, I took the opportunity to practice more of my underwater film and photography skills.
For our second dive, we stopped at the Hannah Belle; also over a hundred but not quite as old as the City of Washington. This section of the reef was absolutely teeming with life and biodiversity. While I didn’t spot any flamingo tongues on the sea fans there, there were TONS of yellowfin damsels to practice taking pictures of. When in their juvenile stages, they sport these absolutely gorgeous blue spots that seem to glow underwater. We were also fortunate enough to see a massive elkhorn coral growing healthy and strong! With the number of reef building corals still dwindling dangerously fast, seeing any amount in the wild is a small glimmer of hope. After putting in the work on our first tank, I took this second round to relax and enjoy all the wonderful sights that Elbow Reef has to offer.
It’s so important that we treasure our moments with nature, especially with rapidly changing ecosystems being impacted by shifts in climate. Even if you can’t get out on the water to find your peaceful moment, remember you can always appreciate what you have in your own backyard. Don’t forget, we have to start by restoring the little ecosystems in our local communities before we can tackle the big stuff together.
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