[Coral-List] Vietnam bans scuba diving to protect a coral reef

Eugene Shinn eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu
Fri Jul 22 19:25:00 UTC 2022

Thank You Joseph Pawlick for remastering and posting the videos of two 
Florida reefs saved by Dr. Zlatarski. The first two, Key Largo Dry Rocks 
and Grecian Rocks show how they appeared in 1987 when bleaching was 
beginning and /Acroporid/ corals were in their final stages.I first 
visited these reefs as a young teenager with my Father. Later in the 
1960s they became my favorite reefs. I first dived there beginning in 
late 1950s. I began my 50-year-long serial photos there and at Carysfort 
Reef in 1960. Much later along with my USGS team of Dan Robin and Harold 
Hudson, we drilled a transect of cores across Grecian Rocks. More on 
that later. I did little work at what became Key Largo Dry Rocks. (my 
first paper on Spurs and Groves was made at what we then called Key 
Largo Dry Rocks, later renamed Grecian Rocks).

I visited what is now Key Largo Dry Rocks many times to take coral 
photos and later to photograph the Christ Statue after it was erected 
there by some of my fellow divers. The ashes of one of them were later 
placed there and plaque for a deceased dive shop owner was placed at the 
feet of statue. I do not know if it remains there today. I was appalled 
the last time I saw the statue because of the encrustations. The statue 
was erected there before becoming part of the Marine Sanctuary and could 
thus be cleaned regularly. It could no longer be cleaned because of its 
religious nature and Sanctuary rules. I do know that one of my friends 
used to brush it off when no one was around. Ironically, for many years 
strangers would approach my boat where ever we were and ask, “Where is 
the reef with the Christ Statue?” Many of the rangers back then had the 
same experience. I suppose it was because they had seen the huge 
billboard featuring the statue along U.S.1 while driving to the Keys.

Grecian Rocks about a half mile to the south became my favorite because 
of: 1, I began my serial photos there, 2, my publication on spurs and 
grooves, and 3, because it provided the live staghorn coral I 
transplanted to shallow water near shore to see if it would grow. That 
publication eventually led to being sent to Australia to testify in the 
Great Barrier Reef hearings. Grecian was also a reef where we could take 
visiting geologists on field trips when wind and waves prevented trips 
to the outer reefs. Our borings there taught us much about why reefs 
originate and grow where they do. And finally, the talk and 
illustrations I give in the Grecian video still applies and also because 
of my black hair. It was not Grecian Formula----that came later. Gene


Shinn, E.A., 1963, spur and groove formation on the Florida reef tract: 
Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 33, no. 2, p. 291-303.

Shinn, E.A., 1966, Coral growth rate, an environmental indicator: 
Journal of Paleontology, v. 40, no. 2, p. 233-240.

Shinn, E.A., 1980, Geologic history of Grecian rocks, Key Largo Coral 
reef Marine Sanctuary:

Bulletin of Marine Science, V. 30, no. 3, p. 646-656.

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