Located on the Government Dock in the heart of Georgetown, Great Exuma, Bahamas, Dive Exuma are a PADI resort offering daily dives, PADI Courses, Snorkel Tours & Private Charters. Great Exuma is the largest island in the chain of 360 islands, or cays, known as ‘The Exumas’ and is the ideal spot for relaxation with its aqua clear waters, deserted sandy beaches, secluded bays and cool breezes.
PADI Course Director & Reef Rescue Instructor Trainer Rich Carr joined the dive team to create their own coral nursery and certified Jonathan Robinson & Danielle Scott as PADI Reef Rescue Diver Specialty Instructors. Dive Exuma can now teach both local and tourist recreational divers to become trained in coral nursery maintenance and play a part in regenerating local coral reefs.
The coral trees will be kept clean from algae and every 9-12 months divers will be able to assist in outplanting these corals back onto the coral reef. The course also teaches divers what they can do themselves to help with conserving coral reefs both at home and abroad. The Exumas are a true paradise to visit and you can not only complete your Reef Rescue Diver course at Dive Exuma but also choose from other PADI specialties including Shark Conservation, Oxygen Provider, Search & Recovery, Underwater Navigator and Deep diver.
The Dive Exuma coral nursery will also play an educational role within the local community and will be inviting local school groups to snorkel the nursery and learn about coral rehabilitation efforts, the importance of coral reefs and what threats corals are facing. It is so important to involve young people and gain their interest as it is their lives that will be negatively affected in the future if we do not preserve coral reefs.
The Exumas boast of the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park, an expansive protected area, and as such have a healthy reef system but even here the Acoporid corals are in huge decline, in particular Staghorn Coral, Acropora cervicornis. Rich and Jonathan went diving on several reefs looking for Acropora cervicornis; however, most populations they found were sadly dead. There were positive signs of Acropora palmata and Acropora prolifera making a natural recovery; however, Acropora cervicornis was almost non-existent, making it even more urgent to find and start growing before it is lost for good. They were finally successful in finding some Acropora cervicornis at Flat Cay Reef where the populations are around 75% dead, but some are still holding on strong. Two different source populations/genetic types were gathered and taken to the nursery site at Half Moon Reef. Five coral trees were anchored in and populated with 250 fragments. The coral trees will now be kept clean from algae and within 12 months we will be able to outplant these corals back at Flat Cay reef to help bolster local populations. With each coral nursery created throughout the Bahamas, it is becoming more apparent that we need to act quickly to save what Acropora cervicornis is left and as many different genetic types as possible to speed up the process of a natural recovery.
Thanks to divers Jonathan Robinson, Rich Carr, Danielle Scott and Steve Fox who helped with the set up and populating the trees.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and Tamara McGraw-Robinson will be happy to assist you in creating your dream dive vacation and we hope you will sign up for their Reef Rescue Diver Specialty Course!
Article by: Hayley-Jo Carr, Training Director & Coordinator, Perry Institute for Marine Science