On Thursday, June 1st, over 150 community members from around Bonaire gathered to show their support for coral restoration and celebrate World Reef Awareness Day, which was hosted by Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire. ReeFiesta provided a meaningful and tangible opportunity for both ocean enthusiasts, both new and old, to actively contribute to coral restoration efforts in Bonaire.
The event kicked off with synchronized shore dives across 10 nursery sites and a guided snorkel tour, led by RRFB team members and experienced staff from 13 local dive operators. Participating divers worked on 63 coral nursery trees, while snorkelers learned about RRFB’s various restoration techniques visiting the nurseries and outplanting sites.
After an afternoon of underwater activities, the group came together on the beach at Buddy Dive Resort for a celebratory reception that included speeches, a gift raffle, and engaging trivia session centered around coral restoration. Thanks to dozens of prizes generously donated by local dive operators – including scuba courses, dive gear, and merchandise, the raffle was a fundraising success.RRFB Chief Operating Officer Francesca Virdis opened the floor with an inaugural speech to welcome guests and recognize long-time RRFB volunteer Loretta Marshall. Monique van de Water, Senior Oceans Advisor for the Dutch Caribbean program of WWF-NL, and Ms. Abigail Paula, Interim Country Manager of Orco Bank N.V., took turns addressing the crowd as representing sponsors of ReeFiesta 2023.
ReeFiesta 2023 showcased the collective efforts of individuals and organizations committed to preserving Bonaire’s reefs; the event welcomed over 80 newcomers and dozens of veteran Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire supporters.