In March I was fortunate enough to spend a few remarkable days in the very warm tropical waters off the Solomon Islands. During World War II, these islands were extremely strategic for the survival of Australia and New Zealand, and the over all war effort in the South Pacific. Today these islands are home to not only an abundance of WWII wrecks laying at the bottom of the ocean, but also many stunning and beautiful Corals.
Corals can be remarkably varied and beautiful, while others may be bland and almost boring to look at. In either case, they are very important to the survival of reefs, the oceans and our planet. Corals are colonies of individual polyps, which are about 2 mm across. Many small reef fishes live near their colonies and retreat into what seem like coral branches when threatened. Environmental degradation, pollutants, warming waters, acidification and many other factors have led to dwindling populations and species of many corals. They are also susceptible to bleaching, which is a growing oceanic issue.
I enjoyed viewing and shooting many coral reefs during this liveaboard trip. On the last dive of the trip, Dive Master Adam Beard (www.adambeardphotography.com) and I were exploring massive corals that were well over 20 feet across.
For this blog post I chose to feature only a few of my coral shots in the Solomons. My complete gallery of Corals can be viewed in 2019 Solomon Islands. I've not identified them by name because I am only learning their names now. Some are Table Corals, Stag Horn Corals, Mushroom Corals and many, many others. Recently, I have been learning much more about Hard or Stony Corals through the help of a most amazing book by my good friend Brandon Cole: Reef Life, A Guide to Tropical Marine Life. I will be returning to the gallery periodically naming individual corals. In the meantime, please enjoy some of my favorite images.
Drew Collins professional underwater photographer and environmentalist living and diving primarily in the beautiful Emerald green waters of Puget Sound near Seattle, Washington.