Even though the tropical storm Ernesto is passing by in a safe distance of Curacao, it is still influencing the weather on Curacao, causing strong winds and high waves. If you’re diving in deep waters, you might not experience so much trouble, but to dive on the shallow reef – where most Elkhorn coral colonies are – is quite dangerous. In the morning, the entrance and exit of the Sea Aquarium reef both looked like a washing machine, and we decided to stay on shore during the day. Since mass spawning was still expected to take place this night, we hope that in the evening the wind will be less strong and diving is possible.
The group divided again into two, and while one part went back to the apartment, the other stayed at the Sea Aquarium for an exhibit workshop, taught by Mitch Carl. The exhibit tank will contribute to the local public outreach program at the Sea Aquarium.
Since there will be an outplant workshop as well, with the coral juveniles of last year’s workshop. Valérie Chamberland and Kim Stone documented the outplants and prepared them for the outplanting workshop later this week.
Spawning dives canceled
At night, it appeared that the water conditions were not getting better. At the Sea Aquarium reef the waves were even higher than the night before, so for safety reasons we had to cancel the spawning dive.
At Spanish Waters it seemed to be a bit better. David went out skin diving to check the situation at the reef after which was decided the group would go in. Unfortunately there was no staging or spawning to be observed. It is known that corals tend not to spawn under heavy weather conditions, since their gametes would be doomed. We still have a chance that the corals will spawn tomorrow night.
Larvae culture and outplants
Nevertheless, we have a small batch culture of the first spawning dives. The fertilization rate was high and the embryos are doing well!
Dive Sites: Spanish Waters
Principle observers: Mark Schick, Bob Snowden
Date of spawning observation: Aug. 5, 2012
Sunset time: 7pm
Monitoring start time: 8.45pm
Monitoring end time: 10.10pm
All species monitored: Acropora palmata and Acropora cervicornis
Depth: 3-7 ft
Approx. monitoring area: 30x20m
Species that spawned: –
Time Set: –
Time Spawn: –
Approx. % of corals monitored that spawned: –
Environmental date (i.e., conditions, tide, moon rise time): rough surge, partly cloudy