Hard Coral Reefs Indonesia
Coral gardens are one of the prettiest attractions in the tropical environment. They offer a safe environment for snorkeling and scuba diving. A beautiful coral garden is the perfect place to introduce children to the wonders of the underwater world. Indonesia is home to some of the most beautiful and diverse coral reefs in the world. If you are planning a trip with your kids, use this as a primer to educate them about the importance of corals.
Hard corals are the building block of the tropical marine environment. They are formed by colonies of coral polyps which secrete calcium carbonate as support on the reef. Although often mistaken as underwater plants, corals are actually animals. They are closely related to anemones and jellyfish but live inside a hard protective environment. The corals themselves are tiny polyps that live closely together and are mainly embedded within their carbonate shell. This calcium shell provides protection from the environment and is what makes “hard coral” hard.
Corals play an important role not just as part of the marine ecosystem, they are also important to humans. Reefs are one of the first barriers to protect land from the effects of the ocean. This is especially evident with barrier reefs that are located off shore. The reefs absorb the energy from oceans so that large waves don’t reach the land. Reefs are also home to many species of fish that are important in fisheries.
Where Does Hard Coral Grow?
Hard coral typically grows in large colonies in shallow, warm water. In Indonesia, we are lucky to be surrounded by the perfect conditions for coral growth. Every destination that the Samata visits is home to stunning coral colonies of every hue and colour. Indonesia boasts one of the highest diversity of corals in the world. There are approximately 800 coral species and 70% of those are found in Indonesia. The Raja Ampat area alone (Bird’s Head Peninsula) is home to 574 species of coral. Indonesia truly is a global powerhouse of coral and fish species.
The reefs are also home to an incredible variety of fish. Many fish species, such as chromis and damsel fish, never leave the shelter of their home coral. Many herbivorous fish specialize in maintaining a “farm” of algae on their home coral and will avidly protect their home turf. Other species use the reef as protection from predators, ducking into the shelter of corals where larger fish can’t reach them. It’s very easy to spend hours observing the interaction of fish and their coral homes.
Enjoying the Coral Reef
The sheltered areas of Raja Ampat and the Komodo National Park offer a tour de force of coral propagation. Although scuba divers see corals when diving, the best way to enjoy the rewards of a healthy coral reef is by snorkeling. With the densest corals growing in the shallows, snorkelers can spend hours observing this rich habitat at their leisure. However, one of the hallmarks of hard coral is their fragility. Delicate branching corals can break from even the slightest touch from a wayward fin. It’s very important to never touch or stand on hard corals as this leads to damage. We always ask our guests to be mindful of their fins when swimming around coral reefs.
Cruising with the Samata Private Yacht
Swimming over an amazingly complex coral reef truly is one of the highlights of a yacht experience. The calm water and healthy marine environment found in Indonesia offers the best options on the planet for nature lovers. Our experienced staff know all of the best snorkeling spots and are more than happy to share them with our guests. If exploring coral reefs and snorkeling is high on your wish list, please let us know. A journey aboard a private yacht in Indonesia is a “once in a lifetime” experience and we want to show you why. The amazing marine environment found throughout the country is only small portion of what makes a Samata experience truly special.