Crown of Thorns Problem

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The Crown of Thorns starfish Acanthaster planci (COTS) has contributed greatly to declines in coral cover on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and remains one of the major acute disturbances on Indo-Pacific coral reefs.

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I hadn’t seen them much around Guam for the first couple of years that we were here. I saw my first one at Dadi Beach on the Navy base. I ran into two at Fish Eye Marine Park, and so on.

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However, I had heard that they could sometimes breed like crazy and take over an area. Last weekend, I finally saw that happen.

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We were swimming from Gun Beach towards Tumon Bay. As we passed the Beach Bar and the stage where they have traditional dances, we began to see Crown of Thorns star fish. First just one, then another, then another, then another…

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By the time we were even with the wedding chapel just past the beach area, we were in the midst of a huge bloom of Crown of Thorns, at depths of 10 feet to 30 feet all along the coral.

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It is always discouraging to come upon these very poisonous and very evil star fish who gobble up healthy coral and leave barren wastelands. However, it is even worse at Gun Beach, where last year’s bleaching had already taken so much of the coral. Now what little is left is being gobbled up!

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For anyone who snorkels or dives regularly, remember that it can make a huge difference if you report these Crown of Thorns blooms right away to whomever handles such things in your area. Here on Guam, it’s up to NOAA, who do reef monitoring, and who are piloting a program to begin killing Crown of Thorns star fish.

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It’s harder than one would imagine to kill a Crown of Thrones. I always figured it would be a good idea to just grab them from the water and let them dry out and die on land. However, it turns out that they spawn when they feel threatened.

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If you scare or upset a Crown of Thorns, it will essentially spray babies out. Therefore, it is up to the professionals to strap on a dive tank, and carefully inject each arm of the Crown of Thorns with poison.

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This way they are killed without being jostled or moved, and so they don’t know it is happening. (They are only star fish after all, so it’s not like they have brains.)

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So the takeaway here is: These evil star fish are killing what coral we have left. If you see something, say something. Don’t try to kill them yourself, or you could make a bad situation worse. And avoid contact because they are very poisonous.

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Manta Ray!

Manta Ray by Jenifer DeLemont
A Manta Ray swimming at Gun Beach.

It’s unfortunate that rays are such a rare sight on Guam. My husband and I have been snorkeling nearly every weekend that we have lived here, but we never say one.

Yesterday, we finally saw one for the first time ever and it was glorious. It went gliding along the ocean floor in front of us and it was beautiful. It’s hard to tell scale under water, but it was big. I would guess about four or five feet across; maybe a little more.

 

 

If it helps for scale, we were snorkeling on the surface of the water about 30 feet from the ocean floor. Anyway, it was a magical experience and I am really glad that we got to have it before we moved to Hawaii.

Manta Ray by Jenifer DeLemont.
One more of the Manta Ray.

If you check out my YouTube Channel, you can find a lot of the other amazing sea life that we have seen here on Guam.

We have come across a lot of stunning things, from turtles to cowrie shells, and even a friendly barracuda. It has been a real adventure living here, and I’ll miss it when we go.

Looking for a Job and a Home

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Now that we have orders to Oahu for three years, I find myself looking for a job and a house there. We will leave Guam this summer (2018) and, after a brief vacation, move to Oahu. After four years here on our humble island, I am a little nervous to move to such a bustling place!

Perhaps you can help me. I am appealing to all of you fabulous people whom I know through my Facebook, my LinkedIn, and my YouTube Channel. Surely some of you have some connections in the area that would benefit by knowing me, and I from knowing them? Why not help us out with an introduction?
Specifically, would any of you wonderful people know anything about property on Oahu and what neighborhoods to look in? Maybe about what things we should be considering when we go to buy? I know I am looking outside planned communities, and towards more out-of-the-way gems that might be found at a bargain due to needing a little love?

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Then of course, what about a job? Do you maybe know anyone who is looking for a Social Media Manger or a Public Relations consultant? I do also have experience in Restaurant Management, Photography and Journalism as well. And, I suppose I have written a few novels. But if it were up to me, I think I would like something in Public Relations or Social Media Management.

I don’t ask for much. But, this is a big move and I am anxious to make the transition smooth. As you all know, moving is hard. And Ohau is a very developed island with extremely expensive property; most of which is well out of our price range on a military salary. It’ll be up to me to make up the difference. Hopefully I am equal to the task.

In the meantime, enjoy the pictures in this post, which are some of my favorite photos from our time in Guam.

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