|Preston Perez, Incarnation Catholic 7th grade, Tampa, FL|
Last night on August 6th, the TRUE Dive Team embarked on a mission to watch the staghorn coral spawn. We left the dock around 8 o'clock and motored out to the beautiful Molasses Reef on the wide and comfortable Orion (Florida Keys Dive Center). Some of the new Explorers stayed back, because they weren't used to the rolling waves on the reef and rock the boat like there's no tomorrow.
We entered the water at 9:00 pm, starting our first dive. We all picked out various sets of staghorn coral and started the observing, AKA staring. This staring went on for over an hour, and afterwards I felt like I had gone cross-eyed. We thought we may have noticed a little puffiness, but no definite indicators that the coral would spawn. After an 11 minute surface interval we headed back into the water, with our fingers crossed once again. The staring repeated itself once again. In the end, we monitored the coral until 11:15pm, and no spawning was observed. We heard from the other research groups in the upper keys and they turned up empty handed as well. Even though we were a little discouraged we're really hoping that it will spawn tonight. It is a waiting game-wait on the coral, wait on the weather, wait and see.
Gale Porter, TRUE Explorer, Junior Plant High School, Tampa, FL