[Orange Beach, Ala.–]Scuba diving 90 feet deep on the sunken coastal freighter “The LuLu”, I was completely surrounded by a curtain of fish: shimmering minnows; fairly large amberjacks …
Watch the Reef Do the Wild Thing Live
With coral reefs around the world in peril from pollution, ocean acidification, disease and other threats, watching these animals reproduce is an exciting, exhilarating, and uplifting experience.
A mass spawning of large boulder corals, such as the brain and star species, is expected to occur after dark on Aug. 13-14 –the week after the full moon– in the Florida Keys. And you can reserve a front-row, underwater seat to witness this spectacular event.
A few hours after sunset on one or both nights, coral polyps all along the reef tract are expected to release millions of eggs and sperm that resemble tiny white BBs into the water column. When the gametes unite, the larvae drift around with ocean currents for days or weeks before settling on the bottom and forming new coral colonies.
Meanwhile, this explosion of new underwater life attracts predators ranging from little silver pilchards to large tarpon that flash like a Fourth of July fireworks display in their quest for food.
The annual spawning event depends on a variety of natural factors and cues such as lunar cycles, water temperature, rainfall, and tide. So it’s never exactly the same from year to year and there are no guarantees it will happen as predicted. If it does go off, it will likely be between 11 p.m. and midnight.
Reserve a spot with Captain Slate’s Scuba Adventures, a Guy Harvey Outpost Outfitter, in Islamorada by visiting www.captainslate.com or calling 1-800-331-3483. Reserve a room for your dive at the nearby Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost by calling 1-800-513-5357 or visiting www.guyharveyoutpost.com.