Grumpy

He's really just breathing...

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Blue shift clown

I need to use flash underwater...


…but he probably wouldn’t like it. Western clown at South Button.

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Look up, see blue

The wall of South Button

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Shy clown

Hiding

Introverted clowns wouldn’t be very funny. Similarly with this unusually timid clownfish.

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Sea star vs. algae

Hey buddy

Thanks to any number of pressures on the ocean (warming seas, acidification, ag runoff), reefs are fighting a loosing battle against algae more and more. This from South Button, featuring a lovely sea star toughing it out.

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Glorious, even on the verge of death

This reef won't last long

The reefs around South Button continue to bleach, thanks at least in part to human impacts such as acidification and climate change. It’s sad to think: If degraded reefs can support this much life, how much more are we missing by not taking care of these rain forests of the sea.

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One of my favorite little islands…

Spray across the bow

Welcome to South Button. It’s an uninhabited islet in the Andaman Island chain. India has classified the waters around it as part of a quasi-Marine Protected Area.

The boat ride to South Button is pleasant for an hour-and-a-half, winding through calm mangrove seas. And then the last stretch in open ocean can be sickeningly choppy, taking as long as 90 minutes in heavy surf.

The islet, a knob of sheer rock jutting straight out of the sea beckons teasingly on approach. It is surrounded by sloping coral and usually makes for easy diving. Unfortunately in the last year, most of the shallower reef has bleached, likely a result of warming seas and climate change.

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What a blowhard…

Porcupine puffer

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Beautiful and barely visible

Sea star

Not a crown of thorns, but a complex sea star nonetheless. Nearly didn’t see it the first time I passed, then stared in wonder at the pattern.

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Serious filter feeder

Giant

Giant clam. From South Button. Which, according to the government of India, is an official Marine Protected Area.

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