This Week’s Dive Report

Even though we’re officially in fall, summer-like conditions continue (and we’re not mad about it one bit). There’s low winds and great viz. This should continue through the end of the month. We’ll be out on the water enjoying it; you should join us!

This week, we took Coral Shores High School kids out. These marine science students came to experience their backyard in the best way possible, by diving and snorkeling on Hens and Chickens Reef. Local non-profit REEF Environmental Education Foundation was on board to help the students with their fish identification.

Coral Shores marine biology students went out with Islamorada Dive Center for a day of snorkeling and diving on Hens and Chickens Reef. ERIC BILLIPS/Contributed

Fish identification with REEF helps to establish biodiversity and abundance of marine life. Fish counts are conducted around the globe and registered in REEF’s global database. Comparing year-to-year, scientists can see how population sizes and make-up change with different conditions and events. Teaching students how to identify and log fish helps them join this decade-long effort and critical conservation work.

Next Week’s Dive Report

Next week, conditions look good through Friday. After that, higher winds are forecasted to roll in. As you know, in the Florida Keys it’s the winds that determine whether we go out or not. Keep an eye on them, too, because they can shift in just a few hours and change how safe it is to go out instantly. 

Conservation Update

First-hand education and experience are some of the most important ways that we can help steward the environment for the future. We’re so excited to be a part of people’s learning journey when we go on coral planting, shark conservation and other educational dives with a purpose. 

When we start kids young and teach them to appreciate the environment, they become lifelong stewards. In a beautiful place like the Florida Keys, this is especially important. Our entire economy relies on the reef. If we show our kids how important it is and how to care for it, they can continue the fight into the future.

Conservation Tip

Recycle and reuse is the tip for this week.  When packing up for your day on the boat, avoid paper plates, or throw away products. Instead bring your water bottle and re-usable items. Less trash, less waste, better for our oceans.

I.CARE Tip

This Saturday, instead of planting endangered corals, we’re helping to move some corals to the new in-water nursery.

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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