We’re just five days away from Reefapalooza Orlando and we couldn’t be more pumped! Along with ReefStock and MACNA, no other show has become a cultural event in the marine aquarium community like ReefAPalooza in each of its three locations.
We all know that Reefapalooza Orlando will be packed with gorgeous live corals for sale, overflowing with hot coral frags, and it’ll feature tons of great booths from the hobby’s best companies and manufacturers. However the best part of any reef shows, the reason that these shows were started back in the day is to get together with fellow hobbyists, talk shop, and see what we can learn from each other.
During last year’s Reefapalooza Orlando, we had a great productive conversation with the organizers about what we could do to make the educational and informative side of reefing events even more engaging, and more exciting for reefers to attend speaker presentations. In discussing other kinds of conferences, notably on the freshwater side of the hobby, we realized that one of the fan-favorites of freshwater aquarium conferences is the presentations about expeditions to far flung regions of the world to collect freshwater fish and plants in their natural habitats.
One of the conclusions we came to is that our knowledge base about live corals is extremely lop-sided towards captive observations of aquarium corals. That is, we don’t have nearly enough reports of natural coral reefs from fellow reefers about where our corals actually come from. We *think* we know about what kind of environment shallow water Acros experience, or where Zoanthids are found in abundance or what kind of habitat chalice corals really prefer.
So Reefapalooza together with Reef Builders came up a plan to give an infusion of knowledge about wild corals and balance out our aquarium experience with real live observations about corals in the wild. We agreed to send a team of reefers with the skills in scuba diving, underwater photography, and knowledge of aquarium corals to seek out a pristine coral reef environment to see what we could find.
We decided to travel to the remote coastal island reefs of Sumbawa, a couple islands over from world famous Bali to explore and dive the little known reefs of this part of central Indonesia. What we found there couldn’t have been more beautiful, luxurious with corals and generally a great environment to document and work into a presentation for this weekend’s coming Reefapalooza Orlando.
We’ve already reported on some of our findings from the Sumbawa Expedition but we’ve definitely saved the juicy bits for the live presentation at ReefAPalooza Orlando. It is our sincere hope that this presentations will be the best thing we can do to transport an audience to a luxurious, natural coral reef.
We believe this is the first time that such an expedition has been made, produced exclusively for a marine aquarium audience, for reefers, by reefers. We’ve been working for months to organize, arrange and edit the thousands of pictures and hours of video footage into the kind of presentation that will really stimulate reefers. National Geographic ain’t got nothing on what we’ve got cooked up for our talk on Saturday and attendees are sure to come away from the Sumbawa presentation with a very fresh and unique perspective on their own home reef tank.
This weekend attendees to Reefapalooza Orlando will experience the kind of educational presentation about wild coral reefs that will inform them about the corals they already love, and make them care even more about where their corals come from. We are honored to be among the few veteran reef aquarium presenters at Reefapalooza Orlando this weekend, and we have no doubt that fellow presenters Joe Yaiullo and Colin Foord will have equally compelling talks this weekend.
If you haven’t made plans to attend Reefapalooza Orlando yet but you live within reasonable driving distance, or a direct flight, attending reef conferences is one of the most enriching thing you can do to further your enjoyment of the reef aquarium hobby and ReefAPalooza Orlando will be well worth it. See you guys there! [ReefAPalooza]