Coral planting was on hold for the windy week, but we’re back this week. TONY TIMPANO/Contributed

This Week’s Dive Report

Conditions last week were pretty good through the week; the weekend brought some cooler temperatures and very strong winds. So, we kept the boats at dock. Safety is always the first priority, and, in conditions like that, it’s wise to stay on land. 

Still, before the winds came in, we did sneak in some good trips. First, we welcomed a big group of students from Bear Grass Charter School in North Carolina. We completed a mixed bag of certifications for them, with some students getting their Open Water Diver certifications and others enhancing their diving with advanced and specialty classes. 

When you travel with a group like this looking for different levels of certification, it’s important to find a dive shop that can cater to everyone safely. Most dive shops will offer numerous specialty classes in addition to Open Water, Advanced Open Water, etc. The most popular ones are: Enriched Air Diver (Nitrox), Wreck Diver, Underwater Photography/Videography, Underwater Hunter, and Lionfish Eradication. If you want to improve on or add to your dive skills, consider signing up for a specialty class. You won’t be disappointed.

Next Week’s Dive Report

The winds died down on Tuesday, and should stay calm enough and compliant the rest of the week. The weekend should be great. Do you have plans to get on the water?

When the weather changes (as it always does), it’s important to be mindful of your anchoring system. Windy conditions make anchoring slightly more challenging. This is because you need to make extra certain your anchor grabs onto something on the bottom so that your vessel doesn’t get dragged by the wind. This is dangerous for passengers and for the reef, because anchors and line dragging can damage fragile corals. 

This is another reason to use the amazing mooring ball system we have in place here in the Florida Keys. NOAA has worked to install these throughout the Keys, and they make it much easier and less stressful to boat during high winds. 

Sharks are amazing creatures to see on any dive. TONY TIMPANO/Contributed

Conservation Update

I.CARE took the weekend off due to the winds, but will be planting again this Saturday. Call us if you want to become a citizen-scientist and help restore our reefs. 

Conservation Tip

Always anchor on sandy bottom. Do not anchor on top of corals or coral outplants.

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Eric Billips is is the owner, captain and instructor at Islamorada Dive Center and Floridia Keys Dive Center. He specializes in scuba, rebreather, spearfishing and captaining in the Florida Keys