In September 2010, Sunshine Divers teamed up with Save Koh Tao, Ban's Diving, The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) and the Prince of Songkhla University to create a coral nursery. The Sunshine team, led by Dave Scanlan, met early in the morning to collect their materials and start building the structures. Under the supervision of SKT and DMCR they learned how to build three different nursery structures: flat rope platforms, flat plastic netting platforms and sloping plastic netting platforms. With lots of hands the construction finished early. Two instructors Carey Johnson and Sarah Van Name scouted the location at 10m just off of Sairee Beach. The team then dropped the structures at the marked location and tied them into position. While everything was being arranged a group of dive masters collected coral fragments off of the reef. Next came the hard part, trimming the coral fragments and placing them on trays either by plastic tubing or twisted rope. Everyone had a good laugh while sorting the corals, clipping them to the right size and squeezing them into place, showing that learning and hard work can be fun! Once finished the trays were secured to the structure with plastic ties.
Ten months later the nursery is doing great. Recently, while looking for locations for a new buoyancy world, Course Director Natalie Hunt, Divemaster Trainer Lee Nightingale and MSDT Sarah Van Name stopped by the nursery for a peek. There is a lot of coral growth and fish life around the structure. There is a small amount of coral death but overall life seems to be blooming. Small groups of juvenile fish, damsels dancing in the coral and even a juvenile longfin batfish dancing around the divers heads. Of course there is some unwanted life such as algae growth and even a crown of thorns sitting on top of the structure.
Over the next few months we aim to continue monitoring our Adopted Artificial reef and observe the changes. With the use of our Divemasters in Training as part of their DM program we will be dedicating certain days to dive the artificial reef and submit updated information to the Save Koh Tao foundation as they collaborate all details for each adopted reef on Koh Tao.