like to be, under the sea in an octopuses' garden in the sun. photos
Snorkeling on the offshore reefs of Puerto Rico's smaller islands offer richer corals and fish life than off any mainland beach... The little sandy keys of Icacos, Lobos and Diablo offer clearer waters and more profuse life. This is true of the bigger offshore islands of Vieques and Culebra as well.
Corals belong to the animal kingdom, and are members
of the same group of animals as jellyfish and sea anemones (Phylum:
Cnidaria). The actual coral animal or 'polyp' is soft bodied,
with tentacles like a sea anemone. The main difference is that corals
secrete an external calcium carbonate skeleton and sea anemones
do not. This hard skeleton forms the framework of coral reefs. The
tiny coral polyps occupy little cups or corallites in the massive
skeleton. Corals can be colonial or solitary and there are several
hundred species, some are large and branching and grow rapidly at
a rate of up to 10cm per year, while others are mound shaped, growing
slowly at only 1cm per year.
addition to the hard corals, there are a variety of soft corals
like the common sea fan (Gorgonia ventalina). The calcium carbonate
skeleton of soft corals is located within their bodies, allowing
them to move with the wave action. Sea fans typically grow so that
the wave action is moving over the broad plane of their bodies,
so all of the sea fans in an area will be oriented in the same direction.
FEEDING THE FISH ON LOBOS ISLAND REEF