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Live Coral Fragments Replanted During Restoration Project Being Prepared for Annual Spawning Event

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Magic Reef Restoration Project

Heavy work completed for Magic Reef Restoration Project; Maintenance Continues to give coral best chance to thrive

Dive volunteers in Grand Cayman are carefully combing a section of restored coral reef in George Town Harbour, scrub brushes in hand, trying to keep reattached coral fragments free of threatening algae to make them more attractive when local corals spawn next month.

“85% of the corals have survived the first year, and they look good,” said Lois Hatcher, co-coordinator of the Magic Reef Restoration Project which began work in September 2014. “But we need to get in there and keep scrubbing the algae away so that during the spawning event, floating gametes can attach themselves to these small corals and grow new coral colonies, fortifying this whole area.”

An experienced coral restoration specialist, Hatcher and a core group of local volunteers, supported by dive operators and the local community, have spent hundreds of hours on the project over the past two years. A fundraiser brought in $28,000 for the project and Carnival Cruise Lines also donated US $100,000 without admitting fault.

“The heavy work is done, and now we need to focus on maintenance,” said Hatcher. “Because of warmer water and other things, algae is growing rapidly and covering the coral fragments. We need to clean the algae off before the coral spawning mid-September.”

During coral spawning, corals simultaneously release eggs and sperm to make new life in the water. These fertilized eggs, or gametes, ride the currents until they find a spot to descend and start new coral colonies. The annual event, which happens in the middle of the night, is more predictable these days, so Hatcher says timing is everything during spawning and too much algae can interfere with this reproductive cycle.

“A reef’s ecosystem is well connected and balanced, and when something throws the balance off, its delicate work to restore it,” she said. “Sorting good algae from bad algae to give these corals a better chance for long-term survival is part of that work.”

The world’s coral reefs are under attack by global warming, massive bleaching events, pollution, invasive lionfish and other factors. Hatcher and her small team of volunteers continue to do what they can to restore the balance in this particular ecosystem in the Cayman Islands. For her work with this coral restoration project and the new Cayman Coral Nursery Program, Lois Hatcher, a photo pro with Ocean Frontiers, has received a Stingray Award for Watersports Employee of the Year from the Cayman Islands Tourism Association. Joey Avery who spent many hours working side by side with her underwater at the restoration site says it is well deserved.

“She walks the walk in a world where so many just talk the talk,” said Avery.

The Magic Reef Restoration Project continues to give local divers a chance to get involved with maintenance work at the site, and Lois Hatcher says there are still two coral trees with 100 coral colonies that need to be out-planted. Volunteers are still needed and dive industry leaders say personal involvement is key to conservation.

“It’s great that volunteers, both guests and locals, can go out and help clean the site – it’s a way for them to become invested in Cayman’s marine environment,” said Rod McDowall, Operations Manager for Red Sail Sports. “People who care about something always try to protect it.”

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WIN a Beuchat Air Light Bag!!!

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For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Beuchat to give away an Air Light Bag!

The Air Light Bag from Beuchat is a practical travel bag that takes up minimum storage space.

  • Material: 600 denier and 1,000 denier nylon/PVC
  • Soft roller bag, easily stored in its mesh bag
  • Internal retaining straps
  • Zip fastener with eyelets for padlocks
  • Side compartment for fins
  • Outer document pocket with coated zip and carry strap
  • Backpack style straps concealed behind the foam back-plate
  • Drainage vents
  • Red over-moulded wheels; detachable wheel block

To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, all you have to do is answer the following question:

In a recent post on Scubaverse.com (which you can read here), we reported that the Philippines have been recognised as the World’s Leading Dive Destination at the 27th World Travel Awards. In the article it states how many islands make up the Philippines… how many are there?

Is there:

  • A) 7,209
  • B) 7,532
  • C) 7,641

Answer, A, B or C to the question above:

Beuchat Air Light Bag December 2020

Competition
  • Enter the country you live in
  • Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all visitors to www.scubaverse.com except for members of the Scubaverse team and their families, or employees of Beuchat and their families. A valid answer to the competition’s question must be entered. If no valid answer to the competition’s question is entered, your entry will be invalid. Only one competition entry per entrant permitted (multiple entries will lead to disqualification). Only one prize per winner. All prizes are non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will be attached to www.scubaverse.com. When prizes are supplied by third parties, www.scubaverse.com is acting as their agents and as such we exclude all liability for loss or damage you may suffer as a result of this competition. This competition closes on 13/01/21. The winner will be notified by email. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision is final.

  • The following fields are optional, however if you fill them in it will help us to determine what prizes to source in the future.

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
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Gear News

Quick Scuba Tips #1: How To Prep A New Mask for Scuba Diving (Watch Video)

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How To Prep A New Mask for Scuba Diving. Can’t I just take my new mask diving straight out of the box? Well, actually, no. It needs a little work to make it dive ready.

In this, the first in our new scuba diving quick hints and tips series, I’m going to show you how to prepare a new mask for scuba diving with three quick techniques, all aimed at stopping your scuba mask from fogging.

Yes, this link is an affiliate link. Purchases made through these links may earn me a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Dive safe, dive often!

James


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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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