Kimbe Bay Coral Reefs. Seventeen years ago photographer David Doubilet was enchanted by a Pacific reef. He recently returned to see if that magical—and fragile—place has endured. A 60-foot-tall tower of barracuda rises past photographer Doubilet’s wife and collaborator, marine biologist Jennifer Hayes. Many of Kimbe’s coral pinnacles host a resident school of barracuda—a sign of a robust reef. Image © David Doubilet/National Geographic
There is a kingdom of coral in the principality of the Pacific Ocean called Kimbe Bay. “It is a world,” says photographer David Doubilet, “more alien than the edges of space.” Unlike cold space, it lives and breathes, and in its universe are galaxies of fish and coral formations as spectacular as the burst of a supernova. The bay, shaped like the cup of a chalice, sits on the coast of New Britain, Papua New Guinea. An uneasy geology—the region straddles two colliding plates—has produced a landscape of volcanoes (three of them active); a narrow coastal shelf that falls off, as if at the end of the world, into an abyss a mile and a quarter deep; and underwater mountains crowned, over the course of millennia, by reefs.
Its flippers spread like wings, a hawksbill sea turtle flies past batfish and barracuda. Submerged peaks attract many species from the open ocean and make Kimbe Bay a haven of biodiversity.
A garden of delicate coral is sheltered from storms in the lee of a nearby peninsula. Kimbe’s reefs help sustain local fishermen, some of whom still rely on traditional outrigger canoes.
source National Geographic