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Creating a Coral Nursery

From the beginning we have thought very carefully about the way we do things here at Master Divers. We like to make sure that we do  the best we can to limit our impact and you will know that our cause of choice is single use plastic and marine debris. We have now had the opportunity to take our environmental philosophies one step further and were able start to build our own nursery.

Bleached Coral

We have coral nurseries so we can take broken bits of coral and give it a nice safe place to grow. Once it’s a good healthy size we take it to one of our dive sites that didn’t fare very well during the 2010 bleaching event. This should give that site a bit of a kick start in repairing itself which coral can struggle to do on its own due to algae build up.

Algae smothering coral.

If we didn’t have the pollutants in the water making it a nice place for algae to grow, nature would take its course and within a few years there would be every chance it would repair itself on it’s own. Although Koh Tao dive sites fared comparatively well there are a few areas of concern which we want to try and help.

Finding Framework

The first step in the process was getting all the materials needed. This was  definitely the hardest. The framework and the netting was a challenge to say the least. Elaine spent hours on the mainland walking up and down the streets using a combination of basic Thai, charades and Tinglish(Thai/English) to find the right stuff. Some stuff we already had and the rest we managed to source on the island like PVC piping, cement, sand and drinks cans. The next job was finding some willing volunteers and they came in the shape of Gareth(DMT), Dan(DM), Sarah(Instructor), Donny(instructor) and me, Mark(conservation instructor).

So with man with tools in hand we set about cutting the metal framework down to size that will support the nursery. Of course heath and safety were of high importance so Gareth put on his protective goggles and I thought about putting some flip flops on.

Gareth cutting the metal nursery structure down to size

This took no time at all and soon Gareth and I were putting the the frame work together with nuts, bolts and corner joints for a bit of extra stability.

Me putting in the joints for the framework

Once the framework was finished Dan and Donny set about cutting the piping to size for the nursery.

Dan and Donny cutting the framework to size
Dan and Donny putting more framework together
Dan making the frames that hold the nets for the coral

Gareth and I then started on the mold for the cement weights that we are going to be using to pin the structure the sea bed.

cutting the wood for the mold for the concrete blocks

We cut and tied knots in some old recycled rope to fit in each mold so we have a way of carrying and moving the blocks.

Gareth tying knots in old recycled rope
Gareth putting the finishing touches to the cement mold

Once Dan and Donny finished the nursery frames Donny and I could start fixing the net base to the frame where the coral is going to be fixed to.

Donny attaching the netting for the coral to the framework

 

While we were doing this Dan and Gareth started mixing the cement up for the mold and then left it to set.

Dan and Gareth mixing up the cement

Now all the man stuff was finished we went to help Sarah who had spent the day cutting up drinks cans so the metal could be fashioned into the holders for the damaged coral.

Sarah making coral holders from cans

The tried and tested way for supporting the coral has been with plastic tubing, but anyone that knows us at Master Divers knows how much we hate plastic so this is a little experiment in trying to find another way of securing the coral.

Sarah making coral holders from cans

Now all there is to be done is let the cement dry and and make a few more blocks and we can then start moving it into the sea.

Well done and thank you to Gareth, Sarah, Dan and Donny!w e managed to do so much!  If this is something you’re interested in Master Divers is now up and running to teach BSAC Marine Conservation Course.  Drop us a mail for more information and dont forget to check out our #RandomActsofConservation Campaign.

BSAC Marine Conservation Course

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