There’s something different about the Atlantic waters near Culebra, Puerto Rico. They are vibrant with green and teeming with life. Fish swim in full blades of hair, leatherbacks hit the waves on logs, and sperm whales float among the coral.
But the bays and surrounding waters aren’t what they seem. This week I joined researchers and university professors who are doing groundbreaking work to learn more about life in the bays and making sure we understand how their ecosystem works.
Many people have heard about Culebra Bay over the years, but this is the first time scientists have been able to get deep into the bay to dive and study the living creatures that live there.
The only other place in the world where this occurs is Cozumel, Mexico. There, you can catch a glimpse of purple and orange jellyfish coursing through the waters or vibrant coral, but in my five days on the Bay, I could only find creatures that live in the ocean.
There are coral, small fish, small crabs, long snails, octopuses, an excellent school of sponges and an albino starfish.
But no fish. No octopuses. No coral.
What’s taking place is one of nature’s greatest spectacles and a fantastic example of how interconnected the planet is and how interconnected we are with the things around us.
These magnificent bays weren’t always the way they are now, but the water was depleted through a chain of events including eutrophication and overfishing.
When they reached the shore, all the algae in the water waned leaving the bay dead white. Eventually, the last remaining creatures made their way back in, only to die when the environment went back to normal.
It took a number of years before the water conditions became favorable enough to allow the creatures to develop.
To see what takes place in this bay, watch the video above.