Coral reefs are very special places. They are the oldest richest natural communities on our planet. In them, that most wondrous and mysterious of all natural phenomena, life, has found its fullest expression.
It was one of those places where the forces which govern life seem to come to a focus of preternatural beauty and intensity. I stood in a small grassy field. It was bounded by a dazzling band of coral sand. Crystalline aquamarine shallows grading into turquoise surrounded the islet. Farther out, a broad shallow reef flat fashioned a skirt of many colors terminating in a hemline of sparkling white breakers. Beyond, an endless sea of indigo blue velvet spread out to the horizon. Life was everywhere.