Back to Nursery School: Spending a day in Coral Restoration Foundation's Nursery

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

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8 Responses

  1. 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 <a href="http://www.coralrestoration.org/"><strong>Coral Restoration Foundation</strong></a>, 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 77<sup>o</sup>F so I didn't need anything but a bathing suit. I love living in the Keys! <br /> <br /> Our host for this dive was the <a href="http://pennekamppark.com/scuba-tours/"><strong>Coral Reef Park Company</strong></a>. 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! <br /> <br /> 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! :D Anyway, here's a bunch of pics of us going back to Nursery School: <br /> <br /> <p style="text-align:center;"><img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_1_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> Swimming among the trees. You can see the empty one waiting for us. <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_15_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> 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? <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_19_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> Everyone getting in on fragging corals. <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_24_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> An eel playing peek-a-boo. Lots of critters hiding all over the place! <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_26_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> 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. <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_2_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> 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.<br /> </p>
  2. <p style="text-align:center;"><img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_4_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> There's room for more than one when creating a coral tree. <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_32_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> We need a lot of frags, so a Hog Fish swims in to help. <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_30_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> Eric getting his frag on! <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_5_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> Peak Performance Hanging! A new Scuba Specialty! <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_33_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> More fish getting in on the act! These fish are pets and are not in danger in the nursery. <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_35_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> A loop of monofiliment is put around the frag. <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_36_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> A CRF intern crimps the sleeve so it won't slip. </p>
  3. <p style="text-align:center;"><img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_39_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> The larger corals at the bottom become our brood stock. <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_41_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> To hang a coral: Pick a spot and thread the mono through it, bottom to top. <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_42_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> Slide on a crimp sleeve. It's made of aluminum, so it won't rust. <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_44_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> Firmly crimp, but don't cut the sleeve! <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_45_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> A happy diver who loves his work! <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_46_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> Daryl gets a helping hand! <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_48_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> Pam keeps a watchful eye on all of us. </p>

  4. A Boy Scout troop has just started one of these off shore from Puerto Aventuras within the past couple of years. We've dove it twice, about twelve months apart, and you can just barely see any progress until you get close up and see the new polyps on the ends of the stalks.<br /> <br /> What a wonderful way to give back.<br /> <br /> Thanks for the post and the great pictures!
  5. <p style="text-align:center;"><img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_54_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> Kell 'Da Wimp' Levendorf from <a href="http://www.diversdirect.com/"><strong>Divers Direct</strong></a> cleans a tree. (I was just diving in my bathing suit)<br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_55_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> Kell Levendorf brushes up on his cleaning skills. Look at that crud fly! <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_60_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> Joe O'Keefe concentrates on getting the job done! <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_63_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> Joe O'Keefe is an independent Scuba Instructor here in the Keys and is well respected by students and colleagues. <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_67_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> What nursery is complete without a puffer??? <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_71_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> What nursery is complete without schools of fish? These corals are ready to be planted. When are you coming to help? <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_69_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> I feel guilty. I'm playing around taking pictures while Pam takes out the trash. She sets an example with her hard work. <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_78_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> We're coming to the end of our third dive today and there's still a lot to do. We obviously need your help, and I mean dollars as well as time. <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_52_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> A startled intern looks at me with a wary eye. <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_53_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> But soon she's back to work. <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_73_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> There's a lot to see here in the nursery and some mighty large fish too! Please remember: they're pets! <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_87_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> Sometimes it's good to get into a scrape! <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_90_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> K2-5: the Coral Tree I cleaned.<br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_92_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> Hard at work. <br /> <br /> <img src="https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/6247/medium/CoralRestorationJan212015_93_.JPG" alt="" /><br /> <br /> A tired Kell Levendorf swimming back to the boat<br /> </p>

  6. Very cool. I would :heart: to help..

  7. Great pics and info, Pete! Now that we live in FL, I'd love to get involved in the coral reef restoration. I'll go to their website to see how to make it happen! look
  8. Coral Restoration Foundation is doing wonderful things here in the Keys and now world wide. I shot this video a little while ago on the big nursery.<br /> <br /> <br /> [video]http://vimeo.com/77644345[/video]

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