I dropped below the surface and started exploring, appreciating some of the best visibility I had seen in some time. Sure enough, around 15 minutes into the dive smoky haze began to emerge from the cauliflower corals (Pocillopora meandrina).
|All photos Copyright 2013 by Barry Fackler|
Visibility quickly dropped from nearly 100' to about 6' in around five minutes. It actually got surprisingly darker and the reef fish, including non-plankton-feeders, became more active.
For a few minutes, I could no longer navigate as my only visual reference was the direction that sunlight was weakly filtering through the thickened water. This was a very new experience for me.
I imagined such a burst of microscopic activity might bring a giant filter-feeder or two onto the reef but that was not to be. After a short while the fog began to clear and I resumed my dive. After completing my dive and taking a one-hour surface interval, I returned for a second dive to find visibility almost back to normal.
After returning home, i searched the internet to find that Pocillopra meandrina spawns April/May at full moon and/or 2-3 days after at around 7:30 in the morning. So it was one of those rare occasions where I was at the right place at the right time!