Pillar Coral

South Side, Cayman Brac

June 13, 1988

I was surprised to find this spotted trunkfish in its natural habitat on the reef among the soft coral. It seemed quite unafraid, probably because it is built sort of like a turtle, with a hard exoskeleton which offers it a lot of protection against predators.

Mark hangs over a reef environment that is dominated by gorgonia soft corals and sea fans. At 30-40 feet, it was a relaxing dive.

With a black body, this spotted damselfish could hide in the shadows if it weren't for his bright yellow tail and glowing blue freckles.

A nice blue tang and a banded butterflyfish

The delicate foureye butterflyfish is a beautiful compliment to the soft world of gorgonia coral.

Providing yet another reason not to step on the reef is this stinging coral or fire coral.

We sood in awe of the perfection of this large brain coral and wondered how long it took to grow to this size.

We had never seen a stand of staghorn coral like this, nicely formed and not broken up.

The spectacular juvenile phase of the stoplight parrot fish is always an exciting find. This one is nose-to-nose with a tiny blue chromis.

The terminal phase stoplight parrotfish above is also spectacular, and a great contrast to the juvenile down in the soft coral at left.

The sea anemones were more beautiful than I had gathered from the still pictures I had seen. The fluid-like flexible stems moved gracefully in response to the gentle surges of the current.

Banded butterflyfish.

The beautiful blue tang is one of my favorites.

A final surprise to cap off this wonderful dive was the view of this graceful skate.

To Sea Feather Wall

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