November 1, 2020, a swarm of Purple Sea Urchins invaded Monterey Bay, threatening the survival of its vital ocean ecosystem.
No one knew when they arrived. No one knew when they started replacing some of its local life forms. Invasion happened quietly and quickly.
When people discovered the Purple Sea Urchins presence, they were already everywhere.
Prolific, Sea Urchins are a danger to the Natural Habitat and Food Source necessary for the survival of the Marine and Sea Life of Monterey Bay.
Sea Urchins can’t co-exist with other species at the Bay because it behaves aggressively and multiples rapidly. It outruns and outlives many of the local species competing for the same food and space.
Sea Urchins eat voraciously almost anything that comes along its path. Its the ocean’s equivalent of Pac-Man. It doesn’t care if it wipes out the entire food supply of other fishes, ocean mammals and sea creatures creating a domino effect of extinction.
Sea Urchins have powerful sharp teeth that can scrape algae off rocks and grinds plankton, kelp, periwinkles, even barnacles and mussels.
So, an alarm call was made to help stop the Purple Sea Urchin invasion at Monterey Bay.
Will the call save the Monterey Bay on time? Can the destruction from the Sea Urchin’s insatiable hunger still be reversed?
Word by mouth, the SOS signal reached far and wide.
State Park staff, volunteers, adults and children that love the Earth and the Environment answered to its emergency call.
On weekends and on their free time, Friends and Families will go to the tide pools and remove the Sea Urchin patiently one by one.
Will it be enough? Seems like an enormous task for such a vast ocean.
6 months after, we came back to check the tide pools. Not a single Purple Sea Urchin in sight. It was hard to believe, but we saw the incredible transformation with our own eyes.
When Humanity comes together, miracles happen. The impossible becomes possible.
The damage at Monterey Bay and its Ocean Life Forms were successfully reversed.
Kelp, an important food source and safety net for many sea creatures thrived from few to forests of them. Their presence, a sign of a healthy Ocean teeming with life.
This week, on our Hiking expedition at the rugged Monterey Peninsula, my son shouted, “Dad, get the sharp thingy in our car.” What he meant was to get the scalpel of a surgical Incision and Drainage tray used to cut abscess.
I shouted back, “Why? It’s too far. I can’t leave you alone or you leaving me alone. Not safe!”
Sounding very excited, he shouted louder, “It’s the Sea Urchins, they are back. Hurry!”
My Dad instincts told me to be a responsible, sensible parent. I decided we both stayed as we are out of nowhere. No person around to ask for help. No cell signal. We are on our own.
I improvised and got him two sharp rocks. We used it to pick up the Sea Urchin, dissect and crushed it.
I could see its sharp pointed limbs moved. It’s mouth wide open with sharp teeth. It seemed to fight back to protect itself. I felt bad. It is a living creature after all. It wanted to survive.
It’s not the Sea Urchin’s fault people consider its presence as an infestation. God did not see it that way when he made the Sea Urchins. Everything was perfectly balance when the Earth was young. Everything has value and purpose to sustain all kinds of ecosystem.
But that time is long gone. Humans created Imbalance outpacing Balance. Sea Urchins and the like are considered a competition to what is important to Humans. So, it needs to be reduced if not eliminated. Extinction of one in favor of another.
However, Sea Urchins are hardy. They are determined, patient survivors. They may again claim dominance when conditions are in their favor.
So, it’s confirmed. The invasive Purple Sea Urchins are back. The Monterey Bay is officially in danger again.
The SOS alarm signal has been activated.
Calling all Earth and Ocean Lovers for help and rescue.
Will Monterey Bay be saved this time? That’s the hope.
Time to save all our Oceans from around the World.
Time to be True Warriors of Mother Earth.
“Our Planet is alive, but we became the swarms of Purple Sea Urchins killing it alarmingly. We don’t know when it will gasp it’s final breathe but when it does, we will die with it. Our Planet can survive without us but we can’t survive without our Planet.”
The Planet is too beautiful to believe it has an end but it does. The Planet may not even survive for our children to grow old and enjoy like we do. That soon.
So, I tell my son, “Enjoy Nature responsibly now, because there may not be a Nature the way you see it today when you get old.” He gives me this heartbreaking look and silence. My heart breaks with him. We both love Nature like we love Life itself.
I want to believe, I want to hope that Earth and Humanity still has a fighting chance and that the next generation gets to see, experience and appreciate all the grown ups have enjoyed during their time.
But believing doesn’t translates to realization. If what I believe, if what I hope doesn’t happen, all I could assure my son is this, “That me and his mom will be there through the worst. That he will not face and endure it alone. He will always have us.”
Nostradamus was just a man, a very observant man. He simply watched how people treated the Earth and paid attention to its outcome. With knowledge on Math and Human Behavior, he wrote our future Apocalypse we call Prediction. Well, it’s no longer a prediction when part of the Apocalyptic process is already happening.
With that in mind, either we max out enjoyment while they last or start working on ways to do our part to save what’s left so Earth could last, we could last.
Other option, we can join the few Haters who believes their words and acts of anger can fix all our problems. May be miracles can happen that way. I don’ know, I’m not God. Just a Dad. Just a Man.
I remember back than when I lived in Germany, I would travel all over the mediterranean countries, like Italy, Greece, Turkey and so on. Sea urchins would be all over the places on the beaches and the ocean, and once you would step on them, you would be in horrible troubles, because the sting was very painful.
Yes, they do. But I guess with global warming, they become a threat in our oceans. More resistant species will survive eventually. Thanks
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Fantastic post! Sort of two stories in one because when you read image captions you get sort of a second story! Beautifully written!
Thanks. It’s like life. So many things going one in one scene. Different stories to different people.
This is a very beautiful post. Sea urchins, no matter how pretty they look, can be a right nightmare. Amazing to hear about the work the community has done to keep the problem under control.
I didn’t understand before that they are a threat to our ocean life. I was just scared to step on it because it can cause severe pain. But the real pain is losing our oceans if we don’t try to protect it. Thanks.
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In some ways we are a lot like the sea urchins. Hopefully we will find a better way to coexist with nature and each other. Hopefully the efforts to remove the sea urchins one-by-one works. It’s a lot of work, but glad to see that some people are willing to put in the effort and care.
No mountain we can’t move when people work together. In this case, urchins infestations. I hope the analogy to humans infesting the Earth will at least wake up many of us to care and do something to nature we so much love and depend on.
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I will admit that the picture of just the one purple urchin at the top was beautiful but when viewed as part of a larger infestation and reading about its effect on marine life, then it becomes creepy and gross.
The analogy you drew with humans is correct. We all serve a purpose on this planet but it’s all about balance and respecting and living and coexisting with peace and harmony with each other.
But that, of course, doesn’t happen. It’s often about survival of the fittest. I hope the Monterey Bay community can get a handle on this latest infestation!
Very true. And your hope is my hope as well both for mankind and our oceans. Whenever I watched nature documentaries, of how we destroyed our planet in less than 100 years, it’s scares me, because another 100 years, with how fast the planet is deteriorating, there won’t be anything left. Covid is the least of our problem then. How to survive in a burning wasteland will be the future generations normal. This should not be the world adults now should leave behind, but so far, it looks like it. Take care. Thanks.
Incredible post! Brilliant and…as always — beautiful!
Thanks. It is our happiest place this Summer. We came back yesterday to say goodbye and do our last Summer hike. Farther this time, su said coming back, “you look like your dying.” It was a challenging exercise but I enjoyed every moment of it. I will miss Summer for sure.
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