Snorkeling over sea fans, La Cordillera Nature Reserve.
“The snorkeling is fantastic…
The waters are crystal-clear and the variety of color found in the undersea life is astounding…
we were amazed at the beautiful coral and purple sea fans…
They swayed in the current, gracefully, as the waves rolled in on the surface above.”
– Thomas R. & Deborah A. Fletcher
Snorkeling in La Cordillera
From the small fishing village of Las Croabas, embark on an all-day motorboat snorkeling excursion to otherwise unreachable coral reefs in La Cordillera Nature Reserve. Once the anchor has dropped into the turquoise water off Cayo Icacos, explore the sun-dappled, underwater world of giant sea fans, elkhorn corals and brilliantly-colored fish. After a delicious picnic on board, cruise to other sandy islets, such as Cayo Lobos and Isla Palominitos, for more fun. At sunset, return to port and Yuquiyú. If you prefer a day of sailing, consider the Erin Go Bragh, a classic yacht with a salty captain.
What are corals?
Corals, among the oldest living animals, are related to jellyfish and sea anemones. The actual coral, or “polyp”, is soft-bodied with tentacles like a sea anemone. The main difference is that corals secrete an external calcium carbonate skeleton, while sea anemones do not. The tiny coral polyps occupy little cups, or corallites, in the hard skeleton, which forms the framework of coral reefs.
Of the several hundred coral species, some are large and branching, growing rapidly at up to four inches a year. Others are mound-shaped, growing slowly at only half an inch a year. In addition to hard corals, mainly brain corals, there are soft ones, like the common sea fan. They are flexible, allowing them to move with the wave action. Rarely in the Caribbean will you find soft corals in such profusion as in La Cordillera Nature Reserve. Fans and other forms, such as plumes, whips and rods, sway beautifully in the underwater swells.
Corals are the cradle of life for the oceans. Their seafloor structures, which take hundreds of years to develop, shelter marine life from predators and strong currents, create rich habitats and support the highest biodiversity.
Source: Adapted from Oceana.
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