Thank goodness things began to die down this week. The winds weren’t bad, but it did take a bit to get our stellar visibility back. Winds can often create currents and churn, which can stir up the bottom and make the water look “milky.”

We had the good luck to take the University of Miami out again. They were conducting a coral research dive to study the health of corals at certain sites. For us, it’s really rewarding not only to plant endangered corals with I.CARE, but also to facilitate cutting-edge research with groups like U.Miami. 

Healthy corals on the reef is good news for the entire ecosystem. As we’ve witnessed, as we lose corals and the structure they provide, tiny benthic fishes lose their habitat and feeding grounds. Without the little fish, we soon lose our bigger fish that bring our fishermen to town. It’s a slippery slope, and it all relies on healthy corals. That’s why we do what we do with I.CARE.

One strange thing this week: we did have to worry about schools of Portuguese man-o-wars that blew in on Sunday. These blueish, jelly-like animals are often confused with jellyfish, even though they aren’t classified in the same family. Man-o-wars are actually colonies of organisms working together and living as a single organism. In this way, they’re a lot like the corals that we all love.

Next Week’s Dive Report

Conditions through next week look favorable for diving and snorkeling. We’ll have mild winds that produce 2-foot seas throughout the week. That’s still very enjoyable, and, as a bonus, the “A/C” will be on. 

Conservation Update

We had another successful coral planting this weekend. I cannot emphasize enough how much each little bit matters. At last count (at the end of February), we were sitting at 3,755 corals planted by 721 divers. That’s a lot of love and care for our coral reef.

Conservation Tip

Always be mindful of your ocean environment. Keep the trash in the boat and your hands off the reef.

I.CARE Tip

This weekend, get your coral outplanting fix with Key Dives.

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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