Wade and Robyn Hughes are well known Australian Geographic Photographers.
This creative collaboration between Wade and Robyn and the Fremantle Chamber Orchestra run by Hans Hug includes a musical performance of 'Cantilena Pacifica' composed by Australian Composer Richard Meale
This collaboration will be featured on OceanLife Festival: Blue Yarns, Opening Night, Monday the 9th of January and Fremantle Underwater Film Festival Opening Night, Friday the 13th of January.
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It will sit in a secluded section of coral reef in Wakatobi Dive Resort, perhaps for as long as 200 years, silently earning its living by pumping and recirculating seawater, and as it doe so, recovering and recycling nitrogen and phosphorous, the nutrients on which the entire reef eco-system depends.
It is a sponge, one of many to be found within Indonesia's Wakatobi National Park. In this case it is a red sponge, aflame with attached life: encrusting blue sponge, yellow and turquoise ascidians, coral-like bryzoans, and likely much more not readily visible to the unaided human eye.
Coral reefs are, as Charles Darwin observed, a paradox. They flourish in the clear, warm tropical waters that humans find so intoxicatingly attractive. But the clarity of the water comes about because of the absence of suspended nutrients, The water is, in fact, as Darwin pointed out, a desert. Enter, the sponges, recovering the organic materials released by the corals, and recycling these essential building blocks of life so that the entire reef can thrive as a submerged oasis.
The importance of sponges, and the little attention they receive in popular media makes this international Underwater Tour Award especially satisfying. Thanks to the organisers, judges, and sponsors, and particularly Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort