In Hawaii, a coral reef infection has biologists alarmed
A mysterious growth has been spreading under the waters of Hanalei Bay and elsewhere on Kauai's north shore. It's killing all the coral it strikes, and scientists can't stop it.
By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times
November 27, 2012, 5:00 a.m.
HANALEI, Hawaii — When compiling a list of places that may be described as paradise, Hanalei Bay on the rugged north shore of the island of Kauai surely qualifies.
The perfect crescent bay, rimmed by palm trees, emerald cliffs and stretches of white sand, has always had a dreamy kind of appeal. It was on these shores that sailors in the movie "South Pacific" sang of the exotic but unattainable "Bali Ha'i."
The problem is what lies below the surface of the area's shimmering blue waters.
Since June, a mysterious milky growth has been spreading rapidly across the coral reefs in Hanalei and the surrounding bays of the north shore — so rapidly that biologist Terry Lilley, who has been documenting the phenomenon, says it now affects 5% of all the coral in Hanalei Bay and up to 40% of the coral in nearby Anini Bay. Other areas are "just as bad, if not worse," he said.