Destinations – Mithapur – Coral Reefs
Coral reefs are one of the most important, and complex ecosystems in the sea world and support over 25% of all marine life. They provide a habitat for many organisms in the marine environment. Coral reefs, also known as the rainforests-of-the-seas support a rich and colourful array of aquatic flora and fauna.
The Mithapur coastal region of Devbhoomi – Dwarka district in Gujarat is the first coral garden in India. The Mithapur Coral Garden houses nearly all coral species found in the Gulf of Kutch.
There are two kinds of corals: hard and soft. Hard corals such as brain, star, staghorn, elkhorn, and pillar corals, and soft corals such as sea fans, sea whips, and sea rods.
This is one of the rare places in the world where one can look at corals without having to dive down into the water. One just has to walk in the water, when the tide ebbs, in about 1 to 2 feet of water, and watch this fascinating underwater world of corals.
Though many a species have been sighted here, I could just manage to see a sea hare and a few coloured crabs. Other reported marine species here are an octopus, jellyfish, starfish, pufferfish, huge green sea turtles, lobsters, dolphins, etc.
To do the coral walk extensive planning has to be done. One has to confirm the tide timings, as one could take a walk in the dry spell between 2 high tides. That’s when the corals get exposed to air and are in full view.