Bonaire: Macro, mostly

©2002 Ken Riddick
Christmas Tree worm and Spotted Cleaner Shrimp at Alice in Wonderland

Also shot on Alice in Wonderland reef, this delicate Christmas tree worm exhibits only one of an incalculable variety of color combinations found among the species. From the family of marine worms known as serpulids, the feathered Christmas tree worm bores into a coral head. The "Christmas trees" extending from a tube drilled into the coral serve to help the worm breath and feed on tiny creatures floating by. A Pederson's cleaner shrimp forages nearby.

As with most of the reefs in Bonaire, the coral crest at Alice in Wonderland begins in 20 to 25 feet of water, then slopes steeply down to the sand at around 100 feet. But here -- and at other sites toward either end of the island -- you will find the unusual arrangement of the double reef system in which two reefs run parallel.

Slowly finding our way to the bottom of the first reef, we could just make out the form of the second reef across 200 feet of white sand punctuated here and there by a lone coral head.

Soaring weightless about 30 feet off the bottom toward the second reef, the incredible variety and relief of the second system sharpened in our view. On this reef there were none of the tell-tale signs of man. No trash. Just uncountable varieties of hard and soft corals and unending colors of countless Christmas tree worms and other small ocean creatures.

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Pictures from other trips:
Roatan | Little Cayman Island | Galapagos | Grand Turk
French Polynesia | Bonaire | Belize | Saba | Exuma Cays

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