DIVE REPORT: INAUGURAL CAMP IN HONOR OF LOCAL CAPTAIN TRAINS YOUNG ‘SEALS’ SCUBA BASICS

A young diver beneath the surface of a pool with Eric Billips. CONTRIBUTED

CONDITIONS A LITTLE BUMPY FOR MINI-SEASON

Conditions out on the water were a little bumpy last week. The start of a two-day lobster mini-season on July 27 pushed boats to the bayside, as conditions were a little calmer there compared to the oceanside.

DIVE CAMP IN MEMORY OF DIVE INSTRUCTOR TEACHES YOUTH

This week, we had an amazing inaugural camp for a group of 9-year-olds. We started our first “Jeffs Juniors Ocean Adventures Camp” this year and it was a huge success. The camp is in memory of Captain Jeff Leonia, a captain and instructor for Islamorada Dive Center and Forever Young Charters. The camp certified the young kids in PADI Seals course, which taught them the basics of scuba diving and got them in the pool, doing compass work, fish identification and underwater photography.  

Day two saw them learning about shark awareness.  We spent the morning in the classroom where they earned their PADI Shark Awareness certification, and the afternoon we snorkeled with some nurse sharks.  Days three and four were spent with Forever Young Charters. The campers learned how to reef fish and caught dinner for the family. Those interested in next year’s camp, please contact Islamorada Dive Center for details. 

CONSERVATION TIP

Always tread lightly when enjoying the underwater world. Leave no trace — by watching your fin kicks and hand movements and always packing out what you packed (or boated) in.

I.CARE

As of August, I.CARE has outplanted 5,870 corals onto the reefs. A total of 1,085 citizen-scientists have assisted in the effort to date. Islamorada Dive Center will be taking divers out for some more coral planting this Saturday. Visit icareaboutcoral.org to learn more.

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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