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October 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 32, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Are Hurricanes Damaging Your Dive Plans?

consecutive storms wreck Caribbean infrastructure

from the October, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Where do sharks go during hurricanes? Despite fake news and cleverly Photoshopped pictures of sharks swimming along flooded highways in Houston after hurricane Harvey, at times of low barometric pressure, sharks and other marine life tend to frequent deeper water to avoid the rough surface conditions.

It is more likely that air-breathing mammals are affected, and in fact, JoJo, the famous human-friendly dolphin local to Providenciales in Turks & Caicos, was originally rescued after being trapped in residual flood-waters after a tropical storm back in 1981.

This year, manatees were stranded north of Sarasota, FL, after hurricane Irma sucked up the water from waterways and bays. Nadia Gordon, a marine mammal biologist, said, "Manatees are accustomed to being tidally stranded at times and females can beach themselves during mating season to get a break [from the activities of males]." Regardless, some volunteers dragged one back to deep water.

The Immense Power Is Localized

The power of a hurricane is immense. Underwater, shallow reefs get smashed, and well-loved shipwrecks get tossed around like toys. This happened to the wreck of the Bianca C in Grenada during Ivan in 2004, and even the wreck of the 888-foot aircraft carrier, the USS. Oriskany, in the Gulf of Mexico, was moved by the storm surge of hurricane Ida in 2009....

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