Coral Spawning in Bonaire

Birds do it.  Bees do it.  Even educated fleas do it.  So goes the famous Cole Porter tune, “Let’s Do It.  Let’s Fall In Love.” The clever lyricist and composer of Broadway musicals back in the Twenties and Thirties also included many mentions of marine life in his 1928 hit, including “oysters down in Oyster Bay,” cold Cape Cod clams, jellyfish and even electric eels.  But he wrote nothing about coral.  But yes, coral do it.

And, sea urchins, sea stars, sea cucumbers, fire worms and other creatures of the sea off the coast of Bonaire.  And, on a pretty precise schedule, in fact.  The sea population around Bonaire positively explodes in August, September and October every year.

The national park foundation of Bonaire, known as STINAPA, not only posts the day of spawning for certain local species, it even predicts the hour. If you follow the coral spawning schedule  — and indeed many Bonaire divers do – the release of the schedule is cause for planning.  Dive trips to Bonaire in the fall months go beyond the normally fabulous to the absolutely extra special if they are timed to the coral spawning schedule.

This year, star coral will very likely be doing it between 9:40 and 10:40 at night on September 24th through the 26th.  Flower coral start their spawning September 25 through the 28th from 9:15 to midnight and again in October.  The experts in this say the timing is tied to the ninth full moon of the calendar year. Star coral and flower coral are joined in the ritual by sea urchins, sea stars, sponges, fire worms and Christmas tree worms at the same time in September and October, all in tune with the moon.

Must be something about that moonlight in Bonaire.

Divi Dive Bonaire, the on-site PADI dive center at Divi Flamingo Beach Resort leads dives during the spawning season.  Check the website for specials.

NOTE: See the Coral Spawn in Bonaire with Divi Flamingo

Once a year corals reproduce in a spectacular and synchronized event known as the coral spawn. For divers and snorkelers, witnessing this wonder of nature is a must-do and where better to do it than in the clear and tranquil waters of Bonaire? Boasting the best reefs of the Caribbean, Bonaire has a variety of spawning corals including the biggest players of the spawn, the mountainous star corals. Star corals, brain corals, flower corals and more spend most of the year preparing for the spawn and are often joined by sponges, worms and brittle stars in their annual reproductive event. Night diving and snorkeling in Bonaire is always an adventure with new things to discover, but the events you witness during the coral spawn will create memories to last a lifetime. This year the main spawning events are predicted to occur during September 24-27 and October 24-26. (To ensure that you get the most out of this experience) Divi Flamingo is offering coral spawning lectures on MONDAY September 23rd and October 22nd by marine biologist Caren Eckrich. These lectures are free to the public and will give divers and snorkelers an excellent understanding of the coral spawn, when to see it and what to look for. We hope to see you at Divi Flamingo Beach Resort for this year’s coral spawn.

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