Conditions this past week were fine but picked up over the weekend. It was “a tad dicey,” as they say. We’re still enjoying good water temperatures — for winter. This means high 70s to low 80s. Coupled with excellent visibility, what more can you ask for from winter diving? 

(Critters. The answer is really cool critters, but more on that below).

Next Week’s Dive Report

Next week, conditions should be great for diving. The wind may fluctuate a bit but shouldn’t exceed 12 knots on any given day. Of course, always keep an eye on readings to be sure of a safe and enjoyable dive day.

Conservation Update

So, back to these awesome critters we were talking about! 

Let’s talk about sharks. They’re awesome — and critically important for our local ecosystem. Sharks help to keep prey populations healthy and in check, to maintain overall ecological balance. Healthy reefs need healthy sharks, and vice versa.

Additionally, and unfortunately for our reefs and our local economy, when sharks and other important species decline, it can bring forth many other changes that affect fish populations. So, our divers will see less out there and our fishermen will find less success.

Due to interest, we held two PADI Shark Aware classes this week. The “PADI Shark Aware Diver” specialty allows divers to understand not only the importance of these apex predators to our environment but also the immense threats they face. Many of the species that used to be abundant in our Florida Keys waters are now threatened or endangered.

Each Shark Aware specialty class includes two dives at some of our more “sharky” reefs — local reefs known to still enjoy healthy shark populations. We mostly observe nurse sharks on these reefs, but sometimes we get lucky and spot bull, reef and even hammerhead sharks. 

The PADI Shark Aware class is available every Friday afternoon, at both Islamorada Dive Center and Florida Keys Dive Center. Give us a call to learn more and sign up.

Conservation Tip

Get Aware! There are many conservation classes that divers can take part in to learn more and help our oceans. These include everything from coral restoration to dives against debris to turtle awareness. Sign up with your local dive shop!

I.CARE Tip

This Saturday, Key Dives will be hosting I.CARE coral planting trips.

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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