PROJECT REEF SPAWN
Each year, teams of volunteer divers make the most memorable night dive of their lives. Coincidentally, all on the same night! As part of the Project Reef Spawn dive team, these divers are all in the water on the one night each year the primary reef-building corals in the hemisphere spawned.
It's like an underwater snowstorm! That's the way divers describe the incredible miracle of coral spawning. Millions of egg bundles lift from coral polyps like Alka Seltzer bubbles. It's an amazing spectacle few humans have ever seen.
This year, volunteer dive teams will again conduct three nights of intensive night dives, at the same time, from the Bahamas to Honduras, to photograph and document what they see. Since it's only been seen a few times in history, this is a chance for you to discover something unknown to scientists. Each year, our divers discover a new species spawning, or different effects of this natural phenomenon on reef marinelife.
Your team oceanographer will have your team at the best place at the best time. We can't guarantee Mother Nature's plans, but she has cooperated in past years. Whether we see spawning at each location or not, we'll be providing valuable comparative information on nocturnal reef life and health. Here's a chance to see the "late shift" of reef creatures.
As you may expect, this expedition involves lots of night diving as well as daytime dives to learn about oceanography and to help with lobster and grouper studies. Team members will be certified as "Research Divers".
The most important aspect of Project Reef Spawn is simultaneous, coordinated expeditions. Project Reef Spawn teams will be heading out to reefs all over the hemisphere. Because spawning occurs later in lower latitudes, the Bonaire expedition will take place in October. All expeditions will include an Expedition Awards Banquet; membership in REEF; team shirts and coral diver certification.
PROJECT REEF SPAWN EXPEDITIONS
We've listed our two most scientific expeditions, and
although The Flower Gardens is the primary Project Reef Spawn expedition,
we are coordinating other Project Reef Spawn Dive teams. These teams will
be an important part of the Project's goals and will be in communication
with the main team. Atlantis Dive Center in Key Largo, the Nekton Pilot
in the Bahamas, Cayos Cochinos in Honduras, and other areas. Contact us
for more information about spawning in your area.
The "underwater snow storm" of mass coral spawning usually only happens one night a year, and was only discovered in 1990! Very few photos even exist of coral spawning. Here's a chance to see something few humans have ever seen!
Flower Gardens Expedition Team - 95-foot research vessel Sea Searcher II
This seamount (where mass spawning was first discovered) off the coast of Texas is famous for clear, warm water, mantas, whale sharks and more spawning corals than any other site in this hemisphere. All dives are from a chartered, liveaboard research ship.
We will assist researchers from the Aquarium of the Americas as they collect coral eggs, sperm and planulae for recruitment and cryogenic studies at the Flower Gardens.
This is a chance to see an underwater natural phenomenon that very few humans have ever witnessed and participate in some real "cutting edge" coral research.
Accommodations: SeaSearcher II has a small but air conditioned, comfortable bunk rooms, and great food. Overnight at a small comfortable motel in Freeport (double occupancy) on August 22nd.
Cost: $1,145.00 ($995.00 without transportation and over night accommodations on August 22nd.)
Transportation: The team will be picked up in Houston and 4 PM the day of departure and transported down to Freeport, TX and returned to Houston airport on the last day.
Meals: All homecooked meals aboard with plenty of snacks.
Diving: Unlimited diving with appropriate surface intervals. Several night, rig, and seamount dives.
Experience: To ensure a safe,
productive expedition, certified divers must have logged 25 logged dives
and a minimum of 3 night dives.
Bonaire Expedition Team - Captain Don's Habitat
Bonaire is a 26-mile-long island just off the coast of Venezuela. It is the top of a mountain jutting up from the deep sea floor. It is one of the oldest marine preserves in the Caribbean. Bonaire's clear waters are world-famous for their walls and calm diving conditions. Oceanographic Expeditions has secured permits from the Park Management Council and in 1997 will establish two oceanographic monitoring stations. For Project Reef Spawn, teammembers will meet in Miami for the flight south. While on Bonaire, we will stay at Captain Don's Habitat. Captain Don Stewart was the founder of the diving industry on Bonaire, and since 1962 has worked toward protection of its marine resources. Captain Don's stretches over a half-mile of coral bluff. Teams stay in comfortable air-conditioned cottages overlooking the Caribbean . The unlimited shore diving is perfect for spawning studies, but we also will dive from our research boat. Anticipate multiple night dives. Full resort amenities and great food round out with expedition base. Please note: Only buffet breakfast is included in the cost. Lunch and dinner are open, and each cottage has a kitchenette.
Accommodations: Comfortable, air-conditioned cottages with full kitchens at Captain Don's Habitat
Cost: $1,795.00 Cost Includes:
Transportation: All airfare from Miami to Bonaire and return; 1 day island exploration trip.
Meals: Daily breakfast and last night team dinner in Bonaire.
Diving: Minimum three dives each day with several night dives and unlimited snorkeling.
Experience: To ensure a safe, productive expedition, certified divers must have logged 25 logged dives and a minimum of 3 night dives.
Deposits: A $500.00 deposit will be required to secure your position in the team. Balance is due 75 days before departure. Team members will receive a detailed Expedition Plan before departure.