Recently Reef Encounters International has teamed up with Aqua Culture Okinawa to make a positive impact on our local coral reefs. Starting with Chiibishi and the Kerama Islands, we will attempt to increase the amount of coral life one reef at a time. And the best part? We are inviting all of our divers to help out with the coral conservation efforts on Okinawa!
For the past 20 years or so, one of the main problems we have been dealing with in Okinawan waters is coral bleaching. Natural disturbances which cause damage to coral reefs include violent storms, high and low temperature extremes, overfishing, changes in water chemistry, and other factors. Coral reef bleaching is a common stress response of corals to many of the various disturbances mentioned above and has significantly damaged coral reefs on Okinawa and its outer islands.
Given the situation on Okinawa, it is not hard to understand why coral breeding and coral culturing are becoming more and more popular. Divers are especially interested in the ongoing efforts because we have witnessed first hand the steady decline in coral reef ecosystems and would like to help out. Of course restoring the coral reefs back to their original status would take hundreds of years and millions of dollars, but one by one we can plant farmed corals, such as the ones in the photo below, and make a serious contribution for future generations to enjoy.
Aqua Culture Okinawa breeds these little coral beauties along with soft corals, giant rugose clams, sea grasses and seaweeds. All of the cultured corals are attached to the rocks and dead coral with an underwater putty-like adhesive. With a bit of luck, the corals will attach themselves to the rock and coral regeneration will begin. According to Aqua Culture's CEO Mr. Eiko Taira, only 20% of planted corals survive to reach maturity. Young corals are lost to hungry coral eating fish, typhoons, and faulty underwater glue.
Contact us for more information on special trips out to the islands dedicated to planting these live corals, prices, and availability. Together we can make a difference!
We are still setting up trips to Yonaguni to explore the monuments and great drift dives found there. You can contact our staff to book a det of dates or set up a custom tour. .
Get Certified at Reef Encounters!!
We are still offering certification classes weekly. Advanced classes also go weekly. Remember we have day, evening and weekend schedules available. Classes can be taught in English or Japanese.
Intro to Tech and the new NAUI Tech classes to include Technical Decompression Diver and Extreme Exposure Diver are also available monthly.
We are also headed back to Africa in August - so if you want to explore the wonders of Pemba and Zanzibar let us know. We can also arrange for a full blown land safari in Tanzania to see elephants, lions, rhino and more.