Cairns Region Guide

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Coral Spawning

Updated: 16-Nov-2018

Once a year only, for a few nights in early summer, the Great Barrier Reef turns on a spectacular and sexy festival...

Sex on the reef
On these nights many corals spawn in a mass synchronized event – unlike any known elsewhere in the animal kingdom. In this amazing event, corals release eggs and sperm into the water creating what looks like an upside down snow storm. These reproductive bundles can be seen in their millions
with eggs and sperm released together in spherical bundles large enough to be seen with the naked eye. This sexual fireworks display comes in many colours including pink, red, orange, purple and blue.

What night will it happen?
This year there may be a split coral spawningover November and December. Linked to the phases of the moon. The most common timing is 3-5 days after the full moon in late spring/early summer. There are many factors involved including relatively little tidal movement, water temperature and lighting. Although there are no guarantees of the exact night of the spawning,
experts can predict spawning. 

I want to watch!
To enhance your Coral Spawning experience Cairns Dive operators provide a fun and informative Marine Biology Presentation as a part of the trip. Local marine biologists and underwater photographers talk about the Coral Spawning and answer questions to help give you a greater chance to see the spawning in action. Please note this event only comes around once a year, so there are limited spots on each cruise.

And join in!!!
Silverwift and Tusa T6 will be hosting Coral Spawning tours this year. All three operators will offer night certified dives or night snorkeler rates. You can book now for selected dates in November and December. Bookings are essential as seats are limited!

Please Note:
Dive operators do not guarantee you will see the Coral Spawn. The coral may spawn on one or over several nights, however it is impossible to predict.

Information sources from: Bette Willis. Professor, Marine Biology James Cook University “The Annual Coral Spawning Event on the Great Barrier Reef”, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority & Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. And “How do corals reproduce –”, CRC Reef Research Centre Ltd.

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