Welcome to your Florida Keys dive report. This last week, the seas were a bit angry, and conditions were rough. The dives themselves, however, were fantastic. 

This week’s dive report
On Friday, Islamorada Dive Center held our Shark Awareness Dives. Nicole and Matthew Mcaleer not only swam with the sharks, but also earned new certifications at the same time ‒ congratulations!

On Saturday, we had the “Old Boys Dive Club” join us for a double dip on the wreck of the Duane. John El Koury, Scott Black and Marvin Chanes came aboard to enjoy what Mother Nature had in store for us.

When conditions are right, the Duane is an amazing dive because the crow’s nest on the ship is so beautiful. We saw tons of goliath groupers on the wreck. One had to be close to 900 pounds! I mean, he was a goliath of a goliath ‒ the granddaddy of them all. There was also a massive school of permit so large it blocked out our vision. 

Divers descend safely on the downline of the Duane. ERIC BILLIPS/Contributed

Next week’s dive report
Winds are coming down, and it’s looking better. Here in the Keys, we hang our hats on the wind more than rain because wind makes for a bumpy ride and sick stomachs. Next week looks nice.

On Thursday morning, we’re heading to the wreck of the Eagle. Saturday, we’ve got our amazing coral restoration planting on Rocky Top Reef. This will be our 16th coral restoration dive, and they’re always fantastic. We’ll also probably do a drift dive on Crocker Ledge. 

If you’re interested in joining any of our dive trips call Islamorada Dive Center at 305-664-3483 or Florida Keys Dive Center at 305-852-4599

Conditions were perfect for a double-dip on the Duane. ERIC BILLIPS/Contributed

Conservation update
On the coral restoration front, our kick-off partnership with Islamorada Conservation and Restoration Education (I.CARE) has gone really well. In the first month of outplanting, we’re at just under 1,000 coral fragments planted! 

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Next week is also Earth Week! There are some amazing events going on. I.CARE will host a shoreline beach and mangrove cleanup on Sunday, April 18, from 8 to 11 a.m. at Founders Park. Closed-toed shoes, hats and water in a reusable bottle are highly recommended. I.CARE will provide bags and gloves. On Thursday, April 22 from 5 to 7 p.m., come to Bud N’ Mary’s for an Upcycled Marine Debris Paint & Sip. RSVP to Key Dives and create some art out of marine debris taken off Islamorada reefs! Event is free and BYOB. Paints, brushes and canvas provided. Donations support I.CARE.

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