Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Secret Garden

We are drawing our research here in Ecuador to a close for the season. The mantas have not been seen here for over ten days now, and it looks like they have moved away on their migration to who knows where, and won't be back until well into next year, when we will be back again to meet them.
This week though, it wasn't a manta ray that took our breath away and had us talking long into the night about our latest discovery. This is one of the privelages that one is presented with as a researcher; that of exploration. We had heard mention of one or two deepwater pinnacles, where the fishermen talk about sharks and other ocean going creatures, but we have never had the privelage to have visited them. However, our building of trust that has been going on over the last years, today bore fruit, and we were taken to one of the mystery sites to dive, probably for the first time ever. Too deep for hookah fishermen, and never dived by sport divers, we were to be the first people ever to set eyes on this site.

It wasn't a deepwater monster that greeted us however, infact it was quite the opposite. Our nearly 40 metre deep dive took us to some of the most beautiful coral gardens we have ever seen. Huge rock formations punched wierd cavernous shapes up into the stark azure backdrop, caverns, walls and tables lay before us. It seemed to me that we were witnessing the aftermath of a game of dominoes, or jenga, played by giants from eons past, such was the chaotic order of the rock about us. But covering those dark and forgotten boulders was a marvel of coral and sponges probably not seen between here and the red sea or the carribean. I hope these few images do it justice. I was really surprised at how pristine the site was, considering that it is a commonly visited fishing spot, but then the huge rocks would keep any sane net worker a good distance out.

We will be back there, to see if we can find out more about that secret garden, and hopefully uncover a few more of its hidden gems.

1 comment:

Jorge A. Mahauad said...

WOW!! did you get to the bottom? what is the maximum depth? I want to come with you next time.