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On The Third Dive of Christmas, My Buddy Gave to Me...

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It wasn't easy to find something relevant that rhymes with 'three French hens', but 'reefs' best friends' works, sort of. The last few years have been devastating for the world's coral reefs, with back-to-back bleaching spanning almost three years in some parts of the world.

The Great Barrier Reef has been hit especially hard, with vast stretches of the reef not just bleached, but dead, as shown in vivid detail during the recent series of Blue Planet II.

Bleaching occurs when zooxanthellae, symbiotic algae which provides coral polyps with sustenance and colour, are ejected due to elevated water temperatures. If normal conditions return, so do the zooxanthellae, and life goes on – but if they don't, the coral eventually dies. Reefs around the world have struggled to recover, but it's not all doom and gloom.

Some reefs, such as those studied by Coral CPR in the Maldives, have not only survived but their resilience is helping to gain an understanding of how some corals remain immune from the elevated temperatures. A recent study in Australia which 're-seeds' the coral reef by artificially growing coral larvae in a laboratory, have apparently proven very successful. 

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During our trip to Mexico, we were privileged to meet the legendary marine biologist Sylvia Earle. There are few ambassadors for the world's oceans with her drive, dedication and passion, and if the reefs have a best friend, it is Her Deepness.

And speaking of Mexico, their president recently signed a decree making the waters around the Revillagigedo islands the largest marine protected area in North America. the reefs are not without friends in high places.

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Enter our special 12 DIVES of Christmas Competition and win one of 12 subscriptions to our beautiful quarterly print edition and a Chris Benz dive watch worth £430

Each day we are giving away a £23.99 print and digital subscription to a reader who has liked our post on Facebook (@DigitalDive) or Instagram (#DiveMag) or retweeted on Twitter (@DiveMagazine). Check us out on your favourite social media channel and boost the day's 12 DIVES OF CHRISTMAS post. A winner will be randomly selected each day.

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Enter the draw to win a Chris Benz Depthmeter Chronograph 300m worth £430. Each day we will publish a simple clue – on the 12th day we'll bring them all together and let you know how to send us your answer to win this classic dive watch. 

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And don't miss tomorrow's FOURTH DIVE OF CHRISTMAS… Foreign Calling Whales!

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