Our traveller uncovers an effort to rebuild a shallow water ecosystem in the Dutch Antilles.
(Continued from the previous page.)
My first encounter was with a single, very aggressive sergeant major damselfish that was guarding the eggs that were laid inside the hollow reef balls. The eggs take about five to seven days to incubate, and the male must stay right on top of the egg mass to ensure that they aren't eaten by any other hungry creature, such as a shrimp or any of the many species of wrasse.
I also observed parrotfish, surgeonfish and blue tangs eating away at the algae that had started to grow. Inside the reef balls I noticed a schoolmaster hiding in the shade. I also saw several juvenile yellowtail damselfish, gorgeous looking, dark blue little fish with iridescent light-blue freckles and yellow tails. I had never seen them before.
I cannot wait to return to the reef in a year to see how much more progress has been made in re-establishing this habitat.
Contact Marijke Wilhelmus here.