Hello, my name is Nadia and I am volunteering with the EAWST. Every day for the past two weeks the EAWST, Camp Kenya and The Leap gap year volunteers have collaborated to help rescue a dying coral reef off the coast of Diani Beach. Depending on when the tides were low, we would set out to sea anytime from 6am to noon to the same site each day to combat the overgrowth of seaweed and urchins, which have been spreading like wildfire. El Nino, a climate pattern that happens around every five years bringing warmer waters, has had detrimental effects on the reef causing the seaweed to grow in abundance smothering the reef and preventing exposure to sunlight which is essential for it to live and thrive.
The volunteers and I spent a few hours a day in the warm, turquoise waters working to clean the coral reef, pulling out the seaweed and killing urchins, which have infested the site since they feed on seaweed, in hopes to promote growth of the reef which would, in turn, brings back sea life that had flourished here before El Nino. The first few days out there the only sign of life we noticed was the sea weed solely. Even the urchins weren’t visible, although we soon found them nestled between the seaweed and deeply embedded within the crevices of the coral.We put together a short underwater video which you can watch below:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/DHDkiRcxEwI" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
All it took was a few days of hard work, albeit in the relentless sun, to witness an abundance of sea life beginning to show itself! From the third day onward we noted so many species of colorful fish, snake eels, starfish, octopuses and we were even lucky to see a pod of 20 or so bottlenose dolphins (who make their way inside the reef on uncommon occasions). We couldn’t believe we were in the same place! The reef has proved to be so resilient, and it was truly amazing to see an almost immediate improvement made by our own hands.