The Parcel Manuel Luiz is a marine State Park, and it is truly amazing how different it is to dive in a protected area. During our first dive we saw many large fish, usually not seen in areas frequented by fishermen.
The rare Marbled Grouper (Dermatolepis inermis).
The Black Grouper (Mycteroperca bonaci) is rarely seen outside marine protected areas, but it was common at Parcel Manuel Luiz.
Our first dive also brought a welcome surprise. During my last trip to the area back in 1999 we noticed that the rare and endemic fire coral Millepora laboreli was severely affected by bleaching. Back then, all of the colonies seen were bleached or dead. Today there are signs of recovery and we saw many colonies alive and well.
The endemic fire coral Millepora laboreli.
Another colony of Millepora laboreli.
In Sao Luis (Maranhao State, northeastern Brazil) I met with the team from SISBIOTA Project to start our 24 hour journey onboard the catamaran Acqua 2 to Parcel Manuel Luis, one of the most remote coral reefs in the South Atlantic.
SISBIOTA team and Acqua 2 crew
Acqua 2 sails
The waters were murky nearshore as this area is influenced by very large rivers, but we were a long ways off our destination.
Murky waters nearshore
After almost 24 hours sailing we arrive at our destination and get ready for our first dive.
Getting ready for the first dive
On Sunday, April 8th, Dr. Luiz Rocha embarks in an expedition to explore the remote reefs of Parcel Manuel Luiz, just south of the Amazon mouth in Brazil. There he will join a team of six Brazilian scientists to survey fish and coral communities, and evaluate the impact of climate change on those reefs.