This Week’s Dive Report

Conditions this past week were a little mixed. The first part of the week we had a great dive on the wreck of the Duane while conditions remained nice. The Duane is known for its strong currents. Luckily, on our dive day, we hit it perfectly and were blessed with zero current. Frequent Keys divers know how rare this is for the Duane.

Speaking of wrecks, remember that most of the wrecks in the Keys were intentionally sunk to create artificial reefs. It works! That’s why, when diving the wrecks, tread carefully. There are living corals and tons of marine life that call them home. These wrecks create ecosystems in and of themselves and the same rules apply as do on a living, natural reef. 

Pro Tip: Use the mooring balls to avoid anchoring on wrecks. Also, watch where you place your hands and where your fin kicks land.

Later in the week, winds and rain came in. These were possible strands from Ida. You never know with these storms which way they will go and what damage they can do. It’s always good to be prepared.

Wrecks attract a lot of marine life, including sharks. ERIC BILLIPS/Contributed

Next Week’s Dive Report

This upcoming week, we should be back to our “Keys” way of life, with amazing late summer weather. The seas are going to have just a slight chop this week, with forecasts for around 1 foot seas. 

Conservation Update

I.CARE is going full steam ahead! It’s critical to take advantage of great weather and conditions to get outplants out onto the reef. The endangered corals that I.CARE uses have been grown out in the Islamorada coral nursery run by Mote Marine Laboratories and I.CARE to a size healthy to put back on the reef. On outplanting dives, we use zip-ties and nails to reattach the corals to the reef. Eventually, the coral tissue will grow over the zip-ties and adhere to the reef. 

Conservation Tip

When diving the wrecks treat the living corals and life that covers these wrecks just as you would any other living reef.

I.CARE Tip

This week’s outplanting dives will take place on Saturday with Key Dives. Give them a call to join this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

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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