Coral Spawning 2013 - Snakebay

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Slangenbaai Spawning 20130925 012 smallSeptember is always the month that Coral Spawning can be expected in Curaçao. A few years ago I participated in the yearly repeated research by Reef Care Curaçao of this phenomena. Purpose of that research was to gather sufficient data to get to a reasonably reliable prediction of the dates of the yearly coral spawning. In 2013 the prediction was that coral spawning would occur in the period of 22 to 28 September.

Together with some friends I decided to do a late night dive on Wednesday September 2013 at Slangenbaai (Snakebay) to try to take pictures of the coral spawning. According to the schedule published by Carmabi, the spawning of the Star coral was expected to happen between 10 and 12 PM. Carmabi makes the reservation that coral spawning is difficult to predict and doesn't give any guarantee that the coral spawning indeed will happen at that moment. That is what I found out the previous years. Almost every year my dive buddy and I plan one or more night dives in this period but we often didn't see any coral spawning.
To increase the chance of success we went to Slangenbaai, where a lot of Star coral can be found. And we started our dive late, around 9:30 PM. The dive plan was to make a relaxed and shallow dive (between 10 and 15 meters) so we could stay under water for a long time. And this year we were successful. A bit after 10 PM we saw the first eggs in the water. I went looking for a promising formation of Star coral, where I could see some eggs in the polyps. There I positioned myself with the camera ready till the coral started releasing the eggs after about 5 minutes.
Each time this is a wonderful experience. It makes a night dive that is normally already worthwhile because of everything that can be seen at night a very special experience.

This article is also published in the November 2013 issue of the Dutch monthly periodical Duiken.