Muriel's Garden

Gardens beneath the Sea
I’m eternally captivated by the secrets held within our ocean realm. As you descend through the atmospheric levels, everything around you becomes increasingly monochromatic. Blues, greens and greys abound. But then you add a little light, and it’s like the sun coming out on a rainy day, kissing the coral until it explodes into a myriad of colours.

This was one of those dives which revealed incredible topography, with crevasses and overhangs rarely disturbed by anyone. Gigantic sea fans and stunningly beautiful walls, encrusted with soft corals in perfect condition. These treasures are becoming rare to find. Although this deep-water fan appears plant-like, it is actually a colony made up of millions of tiny animals which group together forming a structure made of calcareous spicules. The polyps filter-feed, drawing nutrients from the salty seawater.

I wanted to show this split world of colour at depth and the special richness that exists in the blue heart of our planet. These coral gardens thrive as self-contained ecosystems, but they are fragile and under threat from global warming, pollution, over-fishing, mining and deforestation. Places like this provide hope that it isn’t too late to make changes. We can protect this unique and still mysterious domain.

Photographed at Little Bahama Banks, The Bahamas