[Coral-List] British Virgin Islands - green water???

Richard Dunne RichardPDunne at aol.com
Wed Apr 29 08:59:56 EDT 2009

The naturalist R. H. Schomburk concluded that the Orinoco River plume 
reached Anegada (the most north-eastern of the BVI) in his studies on 
the island in the early 19th Century (see reference below). He commented:

"I have already noticed the calcareous and siliceous deposit on the 
southern side of Anegada, which I consider to be the drift matter of 
this current, and very likely a part of the sediment brought down by the 
Oronoco (sp). This explains the reason why there are many plants to be 
met with on the island, which do not exist in any of the other Virgin 
islands, but are peculiar to South America."

Schomburgk, R.H. 1832. Remarks on Anegada. Jour. Royal Geog, Soc. 
London, TI: 152-170.

We worked on the island in 1975, and again in 1977 on the corals and 
fish but did not specifically address Schomburk's observations, other 
than to note that he was remarkably careful and perceptive in his 
studies which were still relevant to us.

Dunne R.P & Brown B. E. (1979) Some aspects of the ecology of reefs 
surrounding Anegada, British Virgin Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin No 236

Richard P Dunne

Georgina Bustamante wrote:
> Interesting observation of green waters of potential continental (Orinoco
> plume?) origin in British Virgin Islands.
> Contact Trish (below) for more information.....
> Georgina Bustamante, Ph.D.
> Coordinator
> Caribbean  Marine Protected Area Managers Network and Forum
> "A social network for enhancing MPA effectiveness in the
>  Wider Caribbean through communication and capacity building tools"
> Hollywood, Florida
> Tel./fax (request) +1 (954) 963-3626
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> email: gbustamante at bellsouth.net
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> ----------------------
> From: Trish Baily <ecosail at hotmail.com>
>> To: oar.oe.faq at noaa.gov
>> Subject: British Virgin Islands -  green water???
>> Date: Wed, 22 Apr 2009 12:40:25 -0400
>> Cc: bpotter at irf.org
>>  A   week ago I went to a presentation in the British Virgin Islands 
>> given by the guys on the research vessell currently working in the 
>> Caribbean.
>> One of the issues that fascinated me is that there was mention that 
>> at times the currents carrying waters from the Orinoco and Amazon 
>> rivers at times bring those waters far enough north that they can be 
>> monitored on the southern edges of the Virgin Islands.  Having 
>> sailed many times from the BVI to Venezuela I had   used the change 
>> in color of the water from  the deep clear Caribbean Blue to the 
>> clear brown/green color as in indication that I was getting into the 
>> nutrient rich waters coming from the  Orinoco.  I  would then expect 
>> the current to increase and almost the instant we hit the change in 
>> water color  
>> there would be dolphins and our fishing line would start buzzing and 
>> we could get  all sort of good things to eat.  Usually that change 
>> in  
>> water was about 250 miles south of the BVI.
>> So now  not quite a week after that discussion we have a green water 
>> event here in the BVi. I have never seen the water this color 
>> before  
>> (  I have been here 20 years)- and it looks like the color of water  
>> one would expect to find  around Grenada or Los Testigos.
>> Yesterday - Tuesday 21 April 09  I was on the north side of the BVi 
>> snorkeling around Monkey point on  Guana island - Water temp was 
>> 76.8 which is cool for this time of year - but water temps are down. 
>> Water was clear blue as usual and visibility  down  a bit because of 
>> a recent northerly swell.  I then went down Sir Francis Drake 
>> Channell to the Bight on Norman Island.  I took my clients out to 
>> the Caves for a late afternoon snorkel.  A  big pod of dolphin came 
>> around - unusual for here -   and i    noticed the water was quite 
>> green.  My clients got in the water and immediately started getting 
>> stung by jellyfish.    I did not see what was hitting them, but I 
>> was in the water too and there was almost zero visibility and the 
>> water a very ususual green color.  On returning to the boat in the 
>> Bight I saw the water temp was up to 80 degrees F. - ( a 3.5deg F 
>> increase from the north side of Tortola).  It seems that everyone is 
>> getting hit by jellies of some sort.  Divers at the  Rhone yesterday 
>> said the water was green - no vis,  but huge feeding frenzies going 
>> on such  as they had never seen at the  Rhone.  Another charter boat 
>> emailed in saying the water looks just like it does normally in 
>> Grenada.
>> I just wanted to alert NOAA to this as I find the phenomena 
>> interesting, and feel someone should be taking samples of the water 
>> for analysis - .  I have written again to boats out chartering to 
>> tell them to note water temps and any unusual sightings.  It would 
>> be interesting to see if you detect this from satellite photos -  I 
>> wanted to get in touch with the guys on the research vessell but 
>> understand that they are already down island???
>> Please let me know you have received this and any explanation NOAA may have
>> regards - Trish Baily -  Charter boat operator - British Virgin 
>> Islands.  Reef Check coordinator BVI

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