And so it goes, Reefapalooza 2009 has come and gone.Â First off, I have to hand it to the folks at SCMAS – WELL DONEâ€¦ What is really amazing is that even though this thing has evolved to â€œmajor event sizeâ€,Â with lots ofÂ vendors and speakers, etc.- it still hasÂ the vibe of a big hobbyist-oriented, club-organized, â€œcoreâ€ event. It is so nice to see that, even with all of the vendors and Â big event distractions, that the pure hobbyist can have fun talking fish (or â€œcoralsâ€, more appropriately) with his/her reef buddies. I get the total geek-thrill of seeing people walking in and out of the event holding coolers, plastic baggies, and Dixie cups with all sorts of coral frags.
Ok- I have to admit, though- what really provides me with the most entertainment is the funny names that are given to different corals.Â Weâ€™re all guilty of this, but the Zoanthid geeks (and I am one of them) , Chalice dorks, and AcanÂ addicts are by far the most entertaining to me! What is in a name? â€œI must have some â€œKeddâ€™s Redsâ€, â€œDarth Maulsâ€, and â€œNuclear Greensâ€â€¦Of course, I will trade you some â€œArmor of Godsâ€ (I didnâ€™t know he wore armor?),Â â€œGoblin Eyesâ€, and- gulp â€œPURPLE DEATHSâ€ for thoseâ€¦ I swear, there is such a language that the non-initiated frag hag would be really lost at one of these things!
True story: I distinctly recall two reefers discussing their spoils at lunch, â€œDude, I landed a TRUE echinataâ€ . â€œSweet- I made a trade for a Jedi Mind Trick Monti.â€ â€œGood for themâ€, I thought. And Iâ€™d hate to imagine how the guy would react if he discovered that that the coral he so lusted after was not â€œTHE TRUE echinataâ€.Â These guys were obviously knowledgeable, very, very into it, and just plain acting like 30 something kids in a very pricy candy store!Â How cool is that? I felt the love there!
I would bet a â€œRed Planet Acroâ€ thatÂ the parent colony of the â€œChilli Pepper Montiâ€ frag you just got was discovered Â long ago in a bin in a forgotten corner of some LFS or coral frag shop, given a little love, and displayed on the message boards for all to see and lust after. Although itâ€™s probably genetically a run-of-the-millÂ Montipora, to the hobbyists who LOVE it- itâ€™s Â waaay more than that-the most beautiful thing in the world- worthy of their love and respect (and a few bucks, no doubt). Although I will be the first to poke fun at the apparent silliness of these names, and will take (Eric) Bornemanâ€™s side in pointing out that that these corals are not generally some rare species, Iâ€™m more excited to think about the fact that they are â€œlovedâ€â€¦that they have driven ordinary men and women to go to extraordinary lengths to acquire and take care of them. Sure, the â€œdesignerâ€ prices and â€œnamingâ€ may be a bit overdone and silly at times, but to the true hobbyist, these names are just a way of generating and sharing excitement for that which we love so wellÂ .
Fifteen years ago, if you would have mentioned that youâ€™d be picking up specimens of CAPTIVE PROPAGATED live corals at a â€œfrag swapâ€ (whatâ€™s THAT?), Â most hobbyists would have looked at you like you were some alien (or had â€œAlien Eyesâ€)! How far we have come- how amazing WE are as hobbyists- to be able to have such awesome events that bring people of all walks of life together, sharing their common love for the ocean and the creatures found in it. You go right on coming up with these goofy names. Names that make us remember why this hobby is so damn fun. Names that get the blood flowing in any hardcore reeferâ€™s veins.
So whatâ€™s in a name? A whole lot, actually! Hats off to you, Reef-a-palooza, and to all of the frag swaps going on every weekâ€¦to those MACNAs yet to unfold, and to the future hobbyists as yet unborn. Iâ€™mÂ so proud to be part of this little hobby world that we have- and you should be, too! Thanks to all of the fine folks that attend these events worldwide, the future will just be brighter and brighter for both the hobby and the animals that we keep. You can bet your Miami Chalice on it!
Till next timeâ€¦Stay wet.