[Coral-List] ICRS/FGBNMS Field Trip Details

Emma Hickerson emma.hickerson at noaa.gov
Thu May 22 11:00:09 EDT 2008

Five slots available on the Flower Garden Banks Field Trip
Please call Gulf Diving directly at 979-233-4445 to make reservations.

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Date: 1-5 July 2008
Trip Leaders: George Schmahl and Emma Hickerson

Field Trip Overview:
The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS) is located 
approximately 185 km
(115 miles) due south of the Texas/Louisiana border, in the northern 
Gulf of Mexico, and includes three
remarkable reefs: the East and West Flower Garden Banks, and Stetson 
Bank. These reef structures sit
atop salt domes and are situated 20 to 30 meters (65 to 100 feet) below 
sea level. The Flower Garden
Banks have living coral cover exceeding 50 percent dominated by massive 
colonies of Montastraea and
Diploria. These reefs are among the healthiest in the Caribbean, 
exhibiting very little coral disease, algal
overgrowth, or bleaching mortality. This is reflected in the ongoing 
long term monitoring of the reefs
that began in the 1980’s and is one of the longest datasets for coral 
reef evaluation. The Flower Garden
Banks are also home to a number of large marine animals that may be 
observed, including manta rays,
spotted eagle rays, loggerhead sea turtles, and occasionally whale 
sharks. Stetson Bank is a coral
community rich with invertebrates, and contains unique geological 
formations. It is dominated by
sponges, algae, and fire coral and harbors large schools of fish. 
Stetson Bank comes up to within 18m
(60ft) of the surface.

The field trip will be conducted aboard the recreational dive charter 
vessel, the M/V Fling, departing out
of Freeport, Texas (approximately 60 miles south of Houston). See 
www.gulf-diving.com for a
description of the recreational dive charter. Participants will make 
their own arrangements to get to
Houston, Texas (George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) or Houston Hobby 
(HOU) airports). Shuttles will
be arranged to pick up participants from airports on the afternoon of 
July 1, 2008.
Date: 1-5 July 2008
Cost: $500 US (Tips are encouraged for the vessel crew. The cost of the 
trip includes dive tanks and
Nitrox fills. Cost does not include travel to and from Houston, TX)
Field Trip Leaders: George P. Schmahl, Sanctuary Superintendent and Emma 
Hickerson, Research
Coordinator, NOAA/Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary

Departure Date: Tuesday, July 1, 8:30 PM, Freeport, Texas
Return Date: Friday, July 4, 5:30 PM, Freeport, Texas
The SCUBA trip will be arranged through Gulf Diving, Inc. by the Flower 
Garden Banks National
Marine Sanctuary. The charter will leave the dock in Freeport, Texas on 
the evening of Tuesday, July 1,
2008. Trip participants will be responsible for travel to/from Houston. 
Shuttles will be arranged for
travel between Houston airports and Freeport. Freeport is located 
approximately 2 hours from George
Bush Intercontinental Airport, and 1 hour from Houston Hobby Airport. 
Trip participants will meet at
the “On The River” Restaurant at 5:00 pm for dinner prior to boarding 
the M/V Fling at around 8:00 pm.
While on board, all meals, drinks, bedding, nitrox/air tanks, weights 
and belts will be supplied. The
participants must provide all other diving equipment. A packing list 
will be supplied prior to the trip.
The charter will return to the dock in Freeport, Texas on the evening of 
Friday, July 4, 2008. On July 4th
participants should book a room in Houston close to the airport to allow 
appropriate time before flying
to Ft. Lauderdale.
We will spend a full day each at the East and West Flower Garden Banks, 
and a half day at Stetson Bank
before returning to Freeport, Texas. Divers will be offered a maximum of 
twelve dives – five each at
the East and West Flower Garden Banks (including a night dive on each 
bank) and two dives at Stetson
Diving at the Flower Garden Banks is only recommended for experienced 
divers. Those new to diving,
or those who have not dived recently (within 12 months) are encouraged 
to obtain additional experience
prior to this cruise. Dive depths range from 21-36m (70-120ft). Sea 
conditions vary dramatically, but
rough seas and strong currents are common.
Meeting Location: On The River Restaurant, Freeport, Texas, July 1, 
2008, 5 PM (Dinner at expense
of participant.)
Number of participants: 18-25 people
Additional Information:
This trip is exclusively SCUBA, as the reefs are too deep for 
snorkeling. Dive certification proof is
required. Participants that are going to scuba dive must provide proof 
of emergency insurance (Diver
Alert Network or Workers Compensation Insurance).

Contact information: george.schmahl at noaa.gov and/or 
emma.hickerson at noaa.gov. Telephone: 409-
621-5151, ext. 111.

For a PDF version of this announcement, please email emma.hickerson at noaa.gov


Emma L. Hickerson
Research Coordinator
emma.hickerson at noaa.gov

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
4700 Avenue U, Bldg. 216
Galveston, TX  77551

Phone:  409-621-5151
cell:  979-777-3895
fax: 409-621-1316



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