Tuesday April 9, 2024

Monterey Herald

Having an extra day for exploration at sea is a rare event; however, the weather was perfect, the equipment worked flawlessly, and a team from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) finished their research at a lost shipping container a day earlier than expected. These conditions led the team in December 2013 to decide to search for corals on Sur Ridge. This unique geological feature is 30 miles offshore of Point Sur, 11 miles long, 3 miles wide and ranges in depth from 2,700 to 5,100 feet. It’s one of the best decisions ever made.

“I wasn’t expecting to see corals until the end of the dive, along the peak of the ridge, but they were dazzling us all day. We’d clearly discovered a unique coral garden, and the excitement in the control room was palpable,” said Jim Barry, senior scientist at MBARI.

“Is Gobsmacked a term still used?! We had discovered something more valuable than a gold mine. Thousands of corals, of all colors, up to 6 feet tall, and some could be a thousand years old. What a feeling to be the first human eyes to see this special spot on the planet,” said Andrew DeVogelaere, research ecologist at the National Marine Sanctuary.

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