You’d probably be asking the similar question that went through my mind; A coral is meant to be left where it is, isn’t it? Exceptional to this case, the coral clearing involved the rehabilitation of a damaged coral reef near the Datai Bay beach that was closes to the Andaman. A marine biologist and consultant for this project, Dr Gerry Goeden, had mentioned that most of the coral reef in the Datai Bay was swept, scattered and destroyed by the 2004 Tsunami.
The rehabilitation exercise involved the clearing of dead coral at certain times of the month during the lowest tides to encourage live coral to grow. The rehabilitation exercise goes further by grafting new coral onto dead coral which are then nurtured in sea water tanks before being returned to the coral reef.
This activity involved not only the efforts of the resort but also the co operation of the resort’s guests and Junglewalla as well.
I am neither a marine biologist nor a diver and having spent most of the time on land rather than under the sea, I am definitely a newbie to the world of corals.
The only thing I know of a coral reef is that it is a very important ecological system that keeps the biodiversity in our oceans in balance. Eventually, the balanced and healthy biodiversity in the ocean will provide economic values to the Homo sapiens.
After the laborious work of clearing the dead corals, the participants of the exercise are then rewarded with a ‘coral walk’ next day. A coral walk is all about getting to know what is going on and what we can find in a coral reef.
Dr Gerry opened my eyes on my first walk to various species of corals and sea life such as mushroom coral, slipper coral, chitons and sea cucumbers that breathe through their anus.
A coral reef is a ‘rainforest’ in the sea for us to learn, to discover and so much more. Whether it’s a rainforest on the land or in the sea, much must be done to save them from exploitation and threats.
I do ponder over the last statement above as Langkawi’s natural environment slowly dwindles against the rising tide development to which even the Datai Bay isn’t immune to. Any development will definitely create an impact but how much of an impact? I do not have the answer right now but can only hope for the best and continue to help the corals flourish.