In October 2016 several club members and friends took a trip to Grenada, dubbed ”The Spice Isle” partly because this beautiful hilly island is home to many nutmeg plantations.
The diving organisation, Eco Dive, was run by Christie Finney a marine biologist and diver who is passionate about improve the state of the reefs.
On the surface it looks as if underwater it should be idyllic, but venture beneath that lovely blue and the evidence for reef damage is stark and widespread. This devastation has several causes. In 2004 hurricane Ivan did a lot of physical damage particularly to these more fragile acropora species. Other major impacts on the coral are local pollution and high water temperatures. Christie is making heroic efforts to restore the reef by growing new coral on frames and replanting. The frames are in areas which are less affected by the pollution but still they appeared affected by the warmth of the water.
There are numerous wrecks around Grenada, resulting from poorly maintained vessel from Trinidad variously catching fire, suffering engine failure in storms and so on. The largest wreck there is the Bianca (known also at one point as the Titanic of the Caribbean…hm I wonder why!) sits in 50m. About 200m long this wreck is described as one of the top 10 wreck sites of the world.
A sculpture – the “Circle of life size figures cast from local children linked by holding hands. Their transformation by nature, as they become remodelled by the environment and coral growth reflects the changes of growing up thorough a lifetime.” They are certainly transforming as coral grows on them and I found them rather spooky but it’s a nice idea. There are many other sculptures including a man sitting at a desk which is rather oxymoronic I felt, given that being underwater should make one forget any hint of work!