Coral spawning (coral reproduction) occurs only once yearly and is one of the ocean’s greatest mysteries.
Renowned coral reef biologist Nancy Knowlton was recently appointed to the Smithsonian’s Sant Chair for Marine Science. She will lead the Institution’s effort to foster a greater public understanding of the world’s oceans.
This is a huge event for divers and snorkelers throughout the world who plunge into the water for several consecutive nights in the hope of catching a glimpse of corals simultaneously releasing sperm and millions of eggs that rise to the surface forming pink slicks that spread out for kilometers – these floating coral larvae represent the next generation and, only very few will actually survive and start new colonies.
Reefs are home to 25% of all marine life yet they occupy only 2% of the area. When we consider that 80% of Caribbean reefs have been destroyed in the last 30 years and half of today’s reefs may die by 2030, it is not hard to understand why spawning is so crucial to their survival.
Bocas del Toro has some of the best conditions possible allowing divers of all levels and snorkelers to witness first-hand an event that can only be described as spectacular This will be one of the most memorable dives of your life which is often described as an upside-down snowstorm.
Five local dive shops join together to make history by being the first in Panama and, as far as we know, in Central America, second only to Bay Islands, Honduras, to offer coral spawning night dives. The participating dive shops immediately recognized the opportunity to develop this into a yearly event which would help attract a larger number of tourists looking for a more meaningful and sustainable Bocas experience. To be fully prepared to offer the best experience possible, a scientific presentation was organized for the participating dive shops. Those who attended had the possibility of asking questions and discussing with the guest speaker, marine biologist Arturo Dominici.
This event was initiated by Manos para el Mar in an effort to increase diver awareness of just how crucial a role coral reefs play in our lives.
To reserve your space and for information, contact any of the dive shops: Scuba 6 Diving Academy, Bocas Water Sports, La Buga, Bocas Dive Center, and The Dutch Pirate.
by Ginette Bariteau, Manos para el Mar