Every year the reefs of Curacao ripple with sexual tension. Under the full moon on September 10-16 the hard corals that form the base of this Dutch Caribbean Islands offshore seascape fill the night ocean with amorous intentions. Divers from around the world converge on Curacao to witness this highly predictable underwater spectacle. Even, and especially, the fish that reside on the reef become so excited about the prospect of a free meal that they congregate around the corals waiting for the buffet to erupt from the polyps of the star, boulder and other hard corals. Crabs and shrimp come out of hiding to feast.
One of the top spots for this event is the house reef off the Curacao Seaquarium. Here you wade into the water about 9:30 p.m., find a particularly fecund-looking mound of coral and wait. And wait. And wait. It's nice to watch all the other action that occurs on the night reef, but the main show comes on its own good time. Just about the time your mind begins to wander, it's as if some unheard order was issued, and with a surprising suddenness the coral polyps swell and out pops a ball of baby corals. The night sea then fills with a snowstorm of orange and yellow bundles of love as they search each other out in the current and swell.
It's one of the most impressive things you'll see while diving, and for the rest of the week, it's not too shabby to prowl the pristine reefs off one of my favorite island in the Caribbean, the relatively unknown Curacao.