Snorkeling off Loh Island, Torres Islands, Vanuatu

The corals look like a painter came by with an incredibly broad palette of colors – this purple was quite striking; snorkeling off Loh Island, Torres Islands, Vanuatu

The corals look like a painter came by with an incredibly broad palette of colors – this purple was quite striking; snorkeling off Loh Island, Torres Islands, Vanuatu

 

While snorkeling off Loh Island, I had the opportunity for the first time to try some underwater photography, borrowing a friend’s underwater point-and-shoot camera.  The results will give you an impression of the area, but are pretty basic compared with some of the photographs made with big digital cameras enclosed in giant waterproof housings and external strobe lights.

 

The Torres Islands had a cyclone come through in the past few years which damaged a lot of the corals and diminished the fish population – as we sailed northwest, the underwater enviro

The Torres Islands had a cyclone come through in the past few years which damaged a lot of the corals and diminished the fish population – as we sailed northwest, the underwater environment daily became more diverse; snorkeling off Loh Island, Torres Islands, Vanuatu

 

Another purple-tipped coral; snorkeling off Loh Island, Torres Islands, Vanuatu

Another purple-tipped coral; snorkeling off Loh Island, Torres Islands, Vanuatu

 

The area we were in is at the southeast corner of what’s known among divers and scientists as the “Coral Triangle.”  This is regarded as one of the world’s most biologically diverse underwater regions – rich in not just corals (living animals, not stone or rock formations!) but fish and other underwater fauna.

 

The corals varied widely in both shapes and colors; snorkeling off Loh Island, Torres Islands, Vanuatu

The corals varied widely in both shapes and colors; snorkeling off Loh Island, Torres Islands, Vanuatu

 

An noted in the World Wildlife Federation web site (quoted above), the fishing practices in this area are unsustainable – we saw very few fish much bigger than this small tropical fish

An noted on the World Wildlife Federation web site (quoted above), the fishing practices in this area are unsustainable – we saw very few fish much bigger than this small tropical fish as the locals have overfished the area (the recent cyclone did damage, too); snorkeling off Loh Island, Torres Islands, Vanuatu

 

A Moorish Idol swam by -- the Moorish idol got its name from the Moors of Africa, who purportedly believed the fish to be a bringer of happiness; snorkeling off Loh Island, Torres Island

A Moorish Idol swam by — the Moorish idol got its name from the Moors of Africa, who purportedly believed the fish to be a bringer of happiness; snorkeling off Loh Island, Torres Islands, Vanuatu

 

“The Coral Triangle is a marine area located in the western Pacific Ocean. It includes the waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and Solomon Islands.  Named for its staggering number of corals (nearly 600 different species of reef-building corals alone), the region nurtures six of the world’s seven marine turtle species and more than 2,000 species of reef fish.  The Coral Triangle also supports large populations of commercially important tuna, fueling a multi-billion dollar global tuna industry.  Over 120 million people live in the Coral Triangle and rely on its coral reefs for food, income and protection from storms.  Current levels and methods of harvesting fish and other resources are not sustainable and place this important marine area and its people in jeopardy.  A changing climate threatens coastal communities and imperils fragile reefs.  The challenge ahead is to develop sustainable solutions for the Coral Triangle’s inhabitants and protect one of the most diverse marine habitats on Earth at the same time.  Together with conservation partners and the governments of the region, WWF works to safeguard this important region for its people and the world… The Coral Triangle hosts an astonishing amount of marine life.  Seventy-five percent of the world’s coral species are found here…  and this is an important place for tuna to spawn.  Whales, dolphins, porpoises, dugongs and whale sharks feed, breed and migrate in these waters.” — from the World Wildlife Federation’s website: www.worldwildlife.com

 

We were incredibly luck to spot (and photograph!) the elusive Leopard Shark; snorkeling off Loh Island, Torres Islands, Vanuatu

We were incredibly lucky to spot (and photograph!) the elusive Leopard Shark; snorkeling off Loh Island, Torres Islands, Vanuatu

 

A pair of Trumpet Fish (vary adept at camouflaging themselves) swam by just as we were heading back to our Zodiac to return to the ship; snorkeling off Loh Island, Torres Islands, Vanuat

A pair of Trumpet Fish (very adept at camouflaging themselves) swam by just as we were heading back to our Zodiac to return to the ship; snorkeling off Loh Island, Torres Islands, Vanuatu

 

 

3 thoughts on “Snorkeling off Loh Island, Torres Islands, Vanuatu

  1. The color of the coral is amazing! Beautiful pictures Rich! They remind me of pictures I took many years ago snorkeling off Heron Island (Great Barrier Reef). Although … my pictures are no where near the quality of yours. I have really enjoyed all your pictures and the education that goes with them from this part of the world.

    Like

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