DIVE REPORT: DIVING INTO 2022 WITH LOTS OF VISITORS & CONSERVATION

Dives Against Debris takes a proactive approach to reef conservation by removing trash and discarded fishing gear that can wreck coral reefs. TIFFANY DUONG/Keys Weekly

Happy 2022, everyone! It’s nice to see you on the other side of the holidays. 

Speaking of, the holidays and end of year are busy in the Keys, and this year was no different. It was actually the busiest week of the year for us, and we were loaded up with visitors! Of course, our dive guides dove in traditional holiday gear, and we shared some true holiday spirit onboard.

Conditions were great, so we visited numerous reefs and wrecks in the Upper Keys. It was the perfect chance to showcase the best of our underwater world to our visitors. Do you have a favorite reef you like to visit or show to people visiting the Keys?

Next Week’s Dive Report

This week looks great up until the weekend. Forecasts call for pretty strong winds after that, and, as you know, here in the Keys, the winds dictate everything about the water. We’ll be enjoying ourselves while it’s safe to do so, and then we’ll see what the forecasts are saying.

Conservation Update

On Jan. 2, we conducted a full day of conservation along with our partners Key Dives and I.CARE. It truly is a blessing to work together with other conservation-minded businesses in Islamorada to steward our local reefs. 

We did cleanup Dives Against Debris in the morning, where divers helped to pick up old fishing line, trap debris and other trash from our reefs. As I mentioned last week, PADI Aware dives such as these are integral to coral restoration efforts and other conservation causes. Reefs that are covered in trash are inhabitable to corals. So, helping to clean up our reefs helps our corals grow.

In the afternoon, we followed our cleanup dives with coral planting. It’s double-rewarding to bring customers out to really see the results of their efforts and to make a difference with their own two hands. Have you participated on a Dive Against Debris or a coral planting trip with I.CARE? If not, it’s a great time to sign up!

Conservation Tip

Keeping trash in the boat and away from the shoreline helps to reduce marine debris floating around in our ocean.

I.CARE Tip

Corals are fragile and should not be touched, unless you’re helping with citizen-science efforts like I.CARE, which are conducted under permit and specific scientific instruction.

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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