Reef Village

Dive Society’s "Reef Conservation Project"

We don’t just take – no, we also give something back and build new, artificial coral reefs

We rebuild dying reefs and create artificial reefs too!

Large parts of the reefs worldwide are affected and destroyed by natural disasters, illegal fishing, erosion, dynamite fishing, plastic and also divers. Same here in the Philippines. Years ago we noticed that corals were dying and our reefs were getting smaller. Our house reef was also affected. The damaged reefs are no longer able to support fish and other creatures. Corals gradually disappeared and the number of fish and other living creatures became steadily smaller.

That’s why we started our “Reef Conservation Project” in July 2012 at the “Luca Sanctuary”, our house reef at the time. At first there were individual steel and concrete structures. Hundreds of concrete elements were added later. Then came the idea of creating “Reef Villages” places that offer animals protection and a “safe home”. Our “Reef Villages” are planned and designed in such a way that divers can see inside but cannot go in themselves. A safe place for sea creatures.

We are supported by Reefvillage.org and Tauchreisen.at

Reef Project Luca Sanctuary – Wreck deep

at the “Luca Sanctuary”, our former house reef

Our first idea was to buy the hull of a disused sailboat and sink it on our house reef. On July 16, 2012 the time had come. The hull was sunk at the “Luca Sanctuary” and the wreck now lies at a depth of 20 meters.

Reef Project Luca Sanctuary – Steel pyramids

at the “Luca Sanctuary”, our former house reef

All in all, we sunk and installed 22 steel pyramids at the “Luca Sactuary”. After initially rusting, the steel structures gradually transformed into new living spaces. Interestingly, apart from sponges, fan corals in particular have settled there.

Reef Project Luca Sanctuary – "Wedding Cakes"

at the “Luca Sanctuary”, our former house reef

What initially appeared to be an interesting shape turned out to be not so great once they were underwater. That’s why we only produced and sunk 24 of them. Nevertheless, today they are also a place where corals and fish make their home.

Reef Project Luca Sanctuary – Reef Cone

at the “Luca Sanctuary”, our former house reef

While we were looking for something new, we found the idea of making “Reef Cones” tempting. Soon after we sunk the first ones at the “Luca Sanctuary” it became apparent that they were great and were quickly taken over by the sea creatures. Motivated to have found the right structure, we produced around 300 of these “Reef Cones” over the next few months. According to a specially designed plan, we arranged these on the former house reef with the idea that the reef could expand back to its original area. And we succeeded perfectly!
Wherever there was only sand, new, beautiful corals are now thriving and countless sea creatures are settling back in.

Reef Project Luca Sanctuary – Wreck shallow

at the “Luca Sanctuary”, our former house reef

In May 2014 we sank a bangka that was donated by the then “Amontillado Beach Resort”. Within a very short time, the new wreck was transformed into a great habitat for many sea creatures and it was a fantastic place where many fish lived. Unfortunately, the wood rotted so badly in just four years that only fragments remained.

Reef Project Luca Sanctuary – Reef Village 1"

at the “Luca Sanctuary”, our former house reef

On November 6th, 2017, a new, much larger and more complex project began for the construction of the “Luca Sanctuary”.
Our biggest challenge, the “REEF VILLAGE” – a construction made of steel frame with concrete coating. The construction consists of 21 elements which are 3.00 meters wide, 2.20 meters high and 65 cm deep. They were ready on land and using pure muscle power we installed them at a depth of approx. 12 meters. The connecting pieces were finally covered with concrete under water.
The idea was that divers could look into it but not swim into it. This created a place where marine animals find a “safe home”. Hard and soft corals, sponges, fan corals and countless fish soon transformed the concrete structure into a real “reef village”. Today the “Reef Village” is an attraction for the many divers at the “Luca Sanctuary” dive site.

Reef Project Luca Sanctuary – Reef Village 2

at the “Luca Sanctuary”, our former house reef

After the first “Reef Village” developed very well, we wanted to see whether another one, a few meters deeper, would work just as well. We soon saw that the structure was transforming into a new habitat there too, but the type of living beings were different from the upper “ReefVillage”. Sponges and mussels are the most numerous new inhabitants down there.

Reef Project Sea Dream Resort – Star Village

at “Star Village”, our new house reef

After we changed our location and are now at home at the “Sea Dream Resorts”, it was obvious that we would also build our new house reef with an artificial reef. We started the production of a new form – the “Star Village”.
A structure shaped like a six-armed steel starfish. In the middle it is around two meters high and from tip to tip it has a diameter of a good 12 meters.

Reef Project Malapascua Island – Star Village

at the dive site “Dakit Dakit”

Inspired by our “Star Village” in Dauin, we wanted to realize a similar project in Malapascua. We were looking for a suitable diving spot and found “Dakit Dakit” an ideal place. The “Star Village” off the island of Mapalascua has a diameter of eight meters and, like all of our other artificial structures, was immediately taken over by the sea creatures.

Reef Project Sea Dream Resort – Reef Village 3

at “Star Village”, our new house reef

As a further element of the artificial reef, we sank a smaller version of the “Reef Village” on our house reef. It lies ten meters deep and is thriving.

Reef project Sea Dream Resort – various structures

at “Star Village”, our new house reef

To make our house reef even more attractive for sea creatures, our guests and all the other countless divers, we are building even more artificial structures. Various shapes at different depths are intended to increase the diversity and the diving experience on the house reef.

Reef Project Sea Dream Resort – Threshershark

at “Star Village”, our new house reef

We are modeling and sinking a Thresher Shark in memory of the world-famous shark researcher and dear friend Dr. Erich Ritter.

With Dr. Erich Ritter, the world is losing one of its most important shark behavior researchers. He worked tirelessly and with great commitment in countless lectures and numerous organizations for the protection and better understanding of sharks.

We brought the Thresher Shark under water and placed it on November 29, 2020. It should always remind us and others of you. Thank you very much for everything we were able to learn from you. We miss you very much, dear Erich.

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Our "Reef Conservation Project" at a glance

We are proud of 12 years of successful Coral Reef Conservation

Time line

July 16, 2012 – we sink a Sailboat

We sink the hull of a sailboat at the “Luca Sanctuary”. It lies at a depth of approx. 20 meters.

March 27, 2014 – we start our “Reef Conservation Project”

We implement our plans and start building steel pyramids for the “Luca Sanctuary” diving spot.

April 14, 2014 – we install the first Steel Pyramids

Today we placed the first steel pyramids on the house reef. We are excited to see what will come of it.

April 20, 2014 – we sink “Wedding Cakes”

After we have sunk steel pyramids, we begin to build “Wedding Cakes” made of concrete as additional elements.

May 15, 2014 – we sink a Bangka

We sink a bangka which was donated by the Amontillado Beach Resort. Many thanks to Silke and Peter.

August 24, 2014 – we sink the first “Reef Cones”

After we have built over 50 “reef cones”, the first of them will be sunk on the house reef today.

October 24, 2017 – we start building the “Reef Village”

our Reef Project works perfectly. Corals grow everywhere. And the Bangka looks very nice too.

November 6th, 2017 – the “Reef Village” dives, professional photographer Martin Aigner is there

Today the first part of the “Reef Village” will be put into the water and installed at the Luca Sanctuary, our house reef.

February 18, 2018 – we are building a second, smaller “Reef Village” for the house reef

It’s wonderful to see how everything is thriving on the house reef. New corals are growing everywhere you look.

January 27, 2020 – we are building the “Star Village” for the new Sea Dream Resort house reef

The “Star Village” has the shape of a six-armed starfish with a diameter of approximately 12 meters. It consists of steel profiles.

March 18, 2020 – we are building a small “Reef Village” for the Sea Dream Resort’s house reef

Because the Reef Village at Luca Sanctuary is as successful as building a second, smaller one on our new house reef.

2020 – we are installing several small, artificial structures on our new house reef

To make our house reef even more attractive, we are sinking several small structures made of concrete and steel around the “Star Village”.

November 29, 2020 – we model and sink a Thresher Shark

in memory of the world-famous shark researcher and dear friend Dr. Erich Ritter

November 1st, 2022 – we sink a “crab” on the house reef

Today we are putting a steel structure in the shape of a crab underwater to make our house reef even more attractive.

Conclusion from over 10 years of reef building

After ten years it is clear that our efforts are paying off. More and more animals are living on the artificial reefs we have built. The number of corals is constantly increasing. The diversity on the reefs is growing considerably. The “Star Village” on our house reef has grown tremendously and is already a great reef with hard and soft corals. A fantastic habitat for many wonderful creatures.
We will continue.

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