Mass coral bleaching events are becoming more frequent and severe across the planet’s tropical oceans, and Koh Tao is no exception. Koh Tao has experienced several coral bleaching events over the last three decades, most notably those in 1998, 2010, 2014, and 2016. Now, it appears as though 2019 could be another bad year for the corals of our island as sea water temperatures have continued to heat up over the last few months. Coral bleaching is primarily a factor of sea water temperatures, with higher temperatures for long periods of time causing the most severe bleaching and mortality. So, we felt it was important to look at temperatures for the island over the last 20 years, using satellite data supplied by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Today we are going to explore the strange and alien Valonia ventricosa, or the Sailor’s Eye. You may remember your first days diving on the coral reefs, watching all the fish and exploring the benthos. At some point in your underwater adventures you probably stumbled upon what looked to be a bit of treasure. Maybe it’s a ball of silver, or some sort of jewelry bead for giants. If you would have touched it (which hopefully you didn’t) it would have collapsed like a deflated balloon, leaving you wondering is this is something from the reef, or from the humans above?