sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Australia Cruising USA Cruising Canada Boats for Sale Sail-World Racing Photo Gallery FishingBoating
Photo Gallery FishingBoating Video Gallery Newsletters
Sail-World.com : Helen Island, Palau -a beautiful and unique place
Helen Island, Palau -a beautiful and unique place

'Birds of Helen Island'    H. Rivera

During our stay at Helen Reef, about 70 km east of Tobi Island in Palau, we were able to make a quick pit stop on the Helen island the only land for miles and miles. The island is inhabited only by three park rangers who patrol the area against illegal fishing and poaching and monitor the reefs and protect wildlife. For instance, they gather new turtle hatchling and allow them to grow up under protection before re-releasing them into the wild due to otherwise high levels of mortality and dwindling turtle populations.

The island is small and absolutely beautiful, crystal clear turquoise waters surround the shallow sandy banks that surround it and white sandy beaches make up its entire coastline. A handful of coconut palms line the horizon, along with a several small trees and few shrubs and grasses. Its most noticeable feature are the thousands of birds flying overheard, circling and cawing, probably a bit agitated to see so many humans on the island. They come there to nest and rest, and nearly every branch on every available tree is overtaken by birds, with signs of nests visible anywhere the branches meet and create a secure enough surface.

Turtle Nursery at Helen Reef -  M. Kaplan   Click Here to view large photo

The rangers live in a small house and keep their supplies, water, fuel, and other resources under sheltered cover. There is no electricity on the island, nor refrigeration. The rangers usually stay on the island for several months at a time, often years. Transit to and from the mainland is scarce, not many boats pass this way. It's certainly a different way of life, but without a doubt a beautiful and unique place.

Helen Reef is rather isolated from any large mainland, inside the atoll is a small island less than half a square kilometer in size, uninhabited, except for three rangers who patrol the reef's marine protected area. The closest other island is Tobi Island, which has a population of less than 100.

Corals at Helen Reef -  H. Rivera  

The coral reefs at Helen suffered greatly during the 1998 El Niño year, which led to bleaching events worldwide. El Niño years result in warmer waters and temperatures. Bleaching occurs when corals lose their endosymbiotic algae, Symbiodinium, due to stress, usually extremely hot temperatures. The colors of corals are actually a result of the pigmentation in this algae, so when corals lose their symbionts the colonies appear white, as the calcium carbonate skeleton becomes visible through the coral's naturally translucent tissue - hence the term bleaching. If temperatures return to normal and the stress ceases in time (at most a few weeks), corals can re-acquire their algal symbionts and return to a healthy state; however, if they remain bleached for too long, colonies can die as they starve without the input of carbohydrates that their algae typically provide.

Example of a bleached coral colony in Dongsha Atoll - Helen Reef -  T. De Carlo  

Much of the monitoring efforts implemented in Palau were a response to the extensive coral bleaching that occurred during 1998. Thanks to these efforts we now have data following the recovery, or lack thereof, of reefs from that time period thru today. Helen's reefs suffered dramatically during this event, but made a quick and remarkable come back, making Helen Reef an important site to characterize and understand. During our time here we collected samples and conducted surveys at various different habitats including the outer reef crest, inner reef and the channel that leads into the lagoon of Helen's atoll (the channel is the squiggly line in the satellite view above).

During our dives we found colorful and diverse reefs, thriving with life. In our first dive on the outer reef, two small reef sharks greeted us as we swam from our boat over the drop off towards the reef, which was dominated by branching corals and small fish. On our way to the second dive site a pod of dolphins followed us into Helen's lagoon, jumping over the rough waves that are typical of Helen's NW side, where several wrecks in the distant attest to the dangers of running aground onto a coral reef. In our second dive site we found plenty of massive Porites, great for our coring and tissue sampling needs. Our second day of diving was likewise full of great dive sites, with good coral, a testament to Helen Reef's resilient recovery from previous bleaching events. Overall, our work here was a success and the diving spectacular. We even got to visit the ranger's island, but I'll tell you all about that in the next post. Next stop: Kayangel.

Coral diversity at Helen Reef -  H. Rivera   Click Here to view large photo

Merand is the Palauan word for coral. The Cohen's Lab current expedition to Palau seeks to understand why some
of Palau's coral can thrive in low pH conditions.

For more information, click here


by Hanny Rivera - Cohen's Lab


  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=125774

11:07 AM Mon 18 Aug 2014GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







Sail-World Cruising News - local and the World



You scratched my seagrass! by Steven Katona, Newport, RI
















The Galley Guys take on the Vancouver International Boat Show by Greg Nicoll with Frank Leffelaar and Friends,


Are you ready to enter that marina? by Captain John Jamieson, Florida














Remember to properly dispose of obsolete distress beacons by Australian Maritime Safety Authority,




World ARC fleet bids farewell to Bali by World Cruising Club,
















World ARC crews in Bali by World Cruising Club,


Could your sailing navigation use a tune-up? by Captain John Jamieson, Florida










Ocean Cruising Club celebrates 60th Anniversary with record gatherings
The Boat Cookbook
La Grace - Flagship of Africa-Europe Challenge in 2014
Indian Ocean-wide tsunami exercise to test readiness
Blue Planet Odyssey - Aventura makes landfall at St John’s
18 anti-piracy weapons for ships to fight pirates
World ARC fleet now arriving in Bali
Governor’s Cup Yacht race - Great for cruisers and racers alike
Cowes Breakwater causes new tidal flow
EU Naval flagship- frigate assist yacht twice maydays in pirate zone
An offer a Galley Guy cannot refuse
Dinghy Safety - More to think about
World ARC fleet to enter Indian Ocean for the first time
What can you do to prevent electrocution and ESD?
Pack this sailing gear for 'hands-free' lighting
Salty Dawg Rally Seminar Series planned October 8 in Annapolis
Europe tightens up on skippers competency certification
World ARC fleet departs Darwin under full sail
NOAA expedition discovers ship’s timepiece silent for nearly 200 years
Blue Planet Odyssey - Northwest Passage gate opens
A Cruising Guide to the Dominican Republic 6.0 now available   
BNS Leopold I to commence counter-piracy operations   
Africa Europe Challenge introduces 'Spectator's Package'   
Wanted youth circumnavigators on a 'Voyage of Imagination'   
Niagara-on-the-Lake, a popular cruising destination in Canada   
The crowd-pleasing comforts of catamaran cruising   
Death by Dinghy   
'Sailing Stones' of Death Valley seen in action for the first time   
Coast Guard searching for two boaters near St. Petersburg   
20 coral species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act   
Shanghai to San Francisco in under 2 hours via supersonic sub   
PSP Southampton Boat Show 2014 - 2 for £24 ticket offer ends soon   
A case of crossed wires? A shocking situation!   
How amazingly awe-inspiring the Arctic really is   
New atlas provides thorough audit of marine life in the Southern Ocean   
European Odyssey boats arrive in Lanzarote + Video   
Multiagency rescue at Dunraven Bay + Video   
Canal Boating in the Alsace with the Galley Guys   
World ARC fleet arrives in Darwin   
Dangers of the Dinghy trip back to your boat   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph, contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW CRU NH
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT