Monday, December 22, 2008

For the name of Conservations?

I was away for the last 2 weeks having my holiday with a few friends in the nature. We trek, eat, sleep & dive at several areas.

The resort that we stay have no road access and only accessible by boat. This make it very exclusive and for whatever reason, we are the only guests in the resort. So, the whole resort is just few of us. As with most dive resort, this resort also have their own House Reef where only the resort guests are allow to dive at this area. This house reef is a combination of sandy bottom, coral rubber, hard coral, soft coral and artificial reef where big barrel & coconut leaves were used to recruit animals.

We did quite a number of dives during our stay there. During one of our dive outside the house reef at the open sea, it was a slope and down to sandy bottom where there were lots of big sea pens that stand at 1.5m tall! The current there were quite strong, I spotted a big shell in cone shape from a distance and I suspect it is a Triton Shell.On a closer look, yes it was indeed a giant Triton trumpet shell (Charonia sp.) Our guide miss it and when he saw us taking photos, he swim over to take a look. He took the shell with him and seems very happy and forgotten his duty as a guide or DM. He just carry the shell swim to the left and right with no clear objectives or direction. I suspect he was trying to place it some where that he can recognise and recover it later. We have to remind him on the bottom time and need to surface. Instead of putting down the shell, he carry it with him to the surface.

The Triton shell came out to take a look what is happening when it was remove from the original location.

When we surfaced, I ask the guide what he going to do with the shell? Why don't put it back to the original locations? For the entire trip, we take only lots of photos without 'harassing' or move the animals from their original locations. As the resort owner, they should set a good example but in this case, they obviously not. He say he is bringing it back to the house reef to help to protect it! Can you believe it?

Since it was our first dive of the day and we were diving at a very remote site. The poor shell was out of water for at least another 6 hours before we return to the resort. Although I do saw them rinse the shell with sea water every now and then.

Did they really eventually place the shell at their house reef? Can the shell survive? Is there enough large sea star to support this Triton shell? Did the shell smart enough to detect and adjust itself when moving from deep water to the surface like we do? Can the shell survive out of water for 6 hours?

It is my 1st sighting of Triton Trumpet Shell in the wild and I really didn't expect the one that suppose to protect them turn out to be the one that betray them. Triton shell is known to attack and feed on large sea star especially Crowns of thorns. Removing them from the original locations will sure to cause the imbalance of the coral reef.

For the name of Conservations, strange things do happen!

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