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Friday, December 11, 2015

Undersea Christmas Trees of Minerva Reef

Bumble-bee colored Christmas worms appear to pollinate
their pink coral hosts in Minerva Reef.
Actually, they’re spirobranchus giganteus -- Christmas worms, colorful coral borers.  These conical pipe-cleaner like critters are sedentary once they anchor themselves into live coral.  Their fluffy radioles spiral out to catch their phytoplankton suppers, but retreat quick as the blink of an eye if they believe they’re the target of someone else’s supper.









These blue Christmas worm's radioles look feathery.
Dunno if they are as I avoid touching the wil    

Minerva Reef’s structure provides the perfect phytoplankton conveyor food belt, while corals inside the reef offer excellent shelter from the rough open ocean surge.

















Brighter than fire-engine red, these Christmas worms remind me
of bottle brush, which runs rampant in New Zealand.
These Christmas worms remind me a bit of triple-decker
passion flowers, Minerva Reef. 
For an underwater photography newbie, Christmas worms make ideal subjects, intricate, colorful and going nowhere.  And in this case, just in time for the holidays!












Sideview of Christmas worm's spiral structure --
this one's particularly colorful.  Seen in Minerva Reef.
Location Location
This is a recent retrospective of our time in Minerva Reef (S23.39.2253 W178.53.770), November 4-13, 2015.  We are currently in New Zealand's North Island, anchored off Opua (S35.18.784 E174.07.471).

Next up:  another New Zealand post.

Cruising By the Numbers
Since we left Jacksonville Florida in December, 2014 -- a year ago -- we've sailed over 10,000 miles!