After Hurricane Iniki in 1992, Linda had seen enough reef damage to become a founding member of TORCH, which was the organization responsible for bringing in day use moorings to our dive sites. We were the dive company who organized the initial placement of pins and directives of the State of Hawaii. Bubbles Below still maintains moorings and continues to work with the State of Hawaii in placing more moorings.
Even before Hurricane Iniki, Linda was compelled to “move” down the reef line. Bubbles Below divers of the 80s probably remember our “learning curve” on how to drift dive safely. There were no standards on it back then. Yep, even safety sausages were a rarity. The advantage of drift diving to the reef is zero disruption of the bottom. We do LOTS of drifts and will teach you how to enjoy this type of diving safely.
With the 2 hurricanes hitting 10 yrs. apart, a port hole from The Pele, a shipwreck at the General Store turned up. Ken Bail, secured it to a cement slab after we initialling found it. Since then the port hole has been returned as a Historical Monument to the Captain and the shipwrecked Pele, which sunk in a storm in March 22, 1895. Accomplishing this has helped divers to learn and recognize the historical and culturally rich maritime history of Kauai.
We are also really keen on still learning more about the reef so that we can share up to -date knowledge with our divers. We LIKE sharing this knowledge!
Snowflake coral has been represented as an invasive octacoral which is found thru-out the Pacific.
Interestingly, Linda dived Truk Lagoon, in Micronesia 26yrs. ago and then 4 yrs. ago. What was so astounding was that the diversity and quantitative amounts of coral coverage on the shipwrecks has been taken over by snowflake coral. It appeared that once live coral was now smothered by snowflake octacoral. This reduces the food source for the coral feeding fish, as there is no known predator for octacoral.
In Hawaii, the Division of Aquatic Resources has been funded by the Federal government to perform on-going assessments to determine if we are under threat of a take over of snowflake coral as is evidenced in the above story. Participation in this study has taken us to Kaula Rock/ circumnavigating Niihau underwater as well as Lehua Crater and many areas of Kauai.
What is perhaps of great significance is that during our last temperature study it was found that Kauai is the only island in the main Hawaiian Islands to actually vary in temperature at depths below 200ft. thru-out the year. The other islands do not and Maui/Molokai/Lanai/and Oahu are having an invasion of snowlflake covering as much as 90% of black coral below the depths of 200ft., while Kauai does not have this problem. The current belief held by Tony Montgomery, (Chairman of DAR – Division of Aquatic Resources) is that carijoa cannot withstand the change in temperature so that in Kauai/Niihau waters during the winter temperatures and at depth the growth rate is greatly mitigated or reversed.
With the State of Hawaii cut-backs, research is dwindled to nonexistent. Fortunately we still have the University of Hawaii who has graduate students performing research. We also have the Institute of Marine Biology which is also associated with the University of Hawaii where important researchers like Greta Abey work.
Black Coral Study by Daniel Wagner: