Many of you who know me, know that I love to volunteer. I simply love to give of my time and it's even sweeter when I get to combine volunteerism with Scuba! So, when I was asked by Ashley to help out on a nursery dive for the Coral Restoration Foundation, I dove at the chance. Everyone was talking how cold the water was, so I brought my 3 mil shorty. After all, it's the Keys, so how chilly could it get? Sure we were bringing lunch and planning on three dives, so I brought a light vest too... you know, just in case. Luckily the water was 77oF so I didn't need anything but a bathing suit. I love living in the Keys!
Our host for this dive was the Coral Reef Park Company. You know, they're the ones who operate inside of John Pennekamp Park at MM 102.2 Oceanside. Click on their name to go to their web site or call (305) 451-6322. Erik is the manager and he came out to help. Dan was our Captain and Drew was our First Mate. It's always a fairly roomy boat, but with less than 10, it was positively spacious. Quick too, and we were in the nursery within a half an hour. Kudos to them for donating their resources like this. It makes Coral Restoration's job that much easier! Also on the trip were Kell, Joe, Bob, Daryl, Ashtyn, CRF Intern Iris, CRF Intern Kristin and we were all led by CRF's Manager of Dive Operations, Pam. We met at the dock at 9:30, had our safety brief and were on our way. Seas were a vicious 6 inches and the day was seasonably perfect. We could not have asked for a better day, and as we tied off, you could almost make out the eye color of the fish swimming on the bottom. It was beautiful and so apropos that the boat we were diving off of was called the Visibility!
Don't let the picture perfect conditions fool you, though. This was a working dive. I brought my camera on the first dive. Took maybe a half dozen pictures and left it on the boat for the second dive. On the third dive, I made it my mission to chronicle the activities. All of us had already had training in the class room for what we were going to do. We had four things to accomplish; frag coral, clean trees, populate a new tree, and fill in holes on existing trees. We were working in the K2 area. That was the second genome collected by Ken Nedimyer, the original Lorax for the Coral. I got to clean Tree K2-5. Be sure to swim by in awe if you are ever in the vicinity! 😀 Anyway, here's a bunch of pics of us going back to Nursery School:
Swimming among the trees. You can see the empty one waiting for us.
Pam shows us how to frag (fragment) coral. Yeah, yeah, we know we aren't supposed to touch the coral, but here we are cutting it all up! Woot! Isn't great to be Coral Restoration Gangsta?
Everyone getting in on fragging corals.
An eel playing peek-a-boo. Lots of critters hiding all over the place!
The nursery sits in a desert. There's only sand all around us, but because of Ken, there's a lot of corals starting to grow in here.
The newest Coral Tree is getting newly fragged coral hung on it. Give it a year or so and these corals will be ready to be planted on the reefs of the Upper Keys.
See more pictures and comment at: http://2sb.us/500076