DIVE REPORT: DIVING INTO HISTORY & RESTORING OUR ECOSYSTEMS

DWP divers measure and map a wreck in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. CONTRIBUTED

Conditions this past week were great. We definitely have our Keys summertime conditions starting. That means low wind, low current and great viz.

We hosted an awesome organization with us throughout the week. “Diving With a Purpose” (DWP) is an American non-profit organization focused on locating and documenting shipwrecks. They have a particular interest in ships related to the Transatlantic slave trade and work to uncover and heal that deep, cultural wound. 

This week, we took DWP and NOAA out to several sites where they trained and conducted underwater archeology dives. On Hen and Chickens Reef off Tavernier, they measured and mapped the environment around a popular shipwreck known as the Brick Barge. 

DWP divers pose on the bow of the boat for a group shot after a successful week out with IDC. CONTRIBUTED

DWP started as a partnership between members of the National Association of Black Scuba Divers and Biscayne National Park. In 2004, they went looking for an infamous lost slave ship, the Guerrero, off the coast of the Keys. This mission awoke a new passion in DWP founder Ken Stewart, who began brainstorming a way to literally dive into history and share the important stories associated with shipwrecks.

Next Week’s Dive Report

All of next week is projected to have the same amazing conditions. Get on out there and enjoy our Keys waters with us.

Conservation Update

On Saturday, I.CARE planted more corals, sponges and crabs at “Rocky Top” reef. 

On the reef, these species do not exist in a vacuum; instead, they rely on each other and enjoy symbiotic relationships. Therefore, I.CARE not only focuses on “just corals” but also restores invertebrates, clinging reef crabs, etc. that are necessary for a fully-functioning ecosystem. 

This holistic restoration strategy really showcases why I.CARE is going above and beyond to bring back the entire ecosystem. 

Conservation Tip

With our summer days ahead of us, more and more people will be spending time in our oceans, diving, snorkeling and swimming. Help our reefs by only using “reef safe” sunscreen. 

I.CARE Tip

On Saturday, I.CARE will be out restoring our reefs with Key Dives. Remember, locals can plant and monitor these corals for free.  If you’re a local then spend a Saturday restoring our reefs at no charge.

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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