a couple weeks ago, The Resorts at Dana Point invited my boys to set off on the Ocean Institute's R/V Sea Explorer, to enjoy the very unique experience of boating along the California Coastline with Reef Check. The Resorts at Dana Point are founding partners in the Reef Check Foundation’s Adopt-a-Reef program, and the boys got to experience first hand how the volunteer divers monitor over 100 California Marine Protected Areas in California. each year, Reef Check has volunteers that dive down and monitor each of the reefs in the California Coastline, and check the health of it.
there are many California Marine Protected Areas in California, and Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point is one of them. that means everything below the surface of the water is protected, including the wildlife and resources. it is important to keep its reef healthy. there are 73 indicator species that help researchers classify the health of California reefs, and the only way to know how healthy the reefs are, is by diving down and collecting data over the course of time to compare.
once the boat was out on the ocean reef, the divers go to work, taking their waterproof data survey tablets into the water with them so they can count and write down what they see. in the California reefs, there is sea life such as the California Spiny Lobster, kelp, sea urchin and fish that need these rocky reefs in order to survive and thrive in the ocean. everyone on the boat was able to experience what the divers were looking at on the ocean floor because the Ocean Institute sent down an ROV that sent up video of the ocean to watch aboard the boat. they kids were able to spot different kinds of fish and even a bat ray. and the boys got to check out specimens that the divers brought up to the boat such a kelp, sea urchin exoskeletons and lobster molt.
it was such a neat experience to watch the divers doing the survey.the boys and my husband really enjoyed learning from the divers and Ocean Institute volunteers.
at the end of the day, hen the divers were finished checking the reef, the Ocean Institute's R/V Sea Explorer headed out to see if they could spot a whale. they had a lucky day with a pod of dolphins....
AND a grey whale! now how cool is that. we are so lucky to live in Southern California, and to be able to witness glorious moments like these in nature. when the boys arrived back home, my middle son told me it was the best day of his life....he really loves nature.
the Reef Check Foundation is an international non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of two ecosystems: tropical coral reefs and the California rocky reefs. the headquarters are in Los Angeles and volunteer teams are in more than 90 countries and territories. Reef Check works to create partnerships among community volunteers, government agencies, businesses, universities and other non-profits. Businesses like Quicksilver, Body Glove and Patagonia are Adopt-a-Reef sponsors for the Southern California region. their goals are to educate the public about the value of reef ecosystems and the current crisis affecting marine life and to protect remaining pristine reefs and rehabilitate damaged reefs worldwide. to find out more about this wonderful program, visit ReefCheck.org