This Week’s Dive Report

This past week, conditions were decent. Winds were moderate and there was no rain, so we were able to enjoy this beautiful place that we live in. 

We enjoyed a fun drift dive on the Conch Wall. It’s so interesting to explore this reef and then see the underwater lab, Aquarius. This research center sits at the bottom of the sea. As recreational divers, we make sure not to enter into the “Aquarius Zone.” 

Next Week’s Dive Report

This week’s diving forecast looks fair. Winds will stay around 12 knots, which translates to roughly 2-foot seas. I’d call this “not smooth, but comfortable.” 

It’s important to remember safety protocols when diving in conditions you find challenging. When waiting to get back on the dive boat, hang onto the tag line, especially if there is a current. Let the diver in front of you get all the way on the platform before you start coming up, in case a big wave comes that knocks them backwards. Keep your regulator in your mouth as you climb up the latter for the same reason. 

Stingrays and many other animals travel between seagrasses and coral reefs. ERIC BILLIPS/Contributed

Conservation Update

I.CARE continues to draw divers from around the world. It’s a very special thing to participate in the active restoration of Florida’s Coral Reef, and we are so glad to be a part. Last week, we took 20 new “coral planting” divers out and planted 40 endangered corals back on the reef.

This week, the I.CARE dives will be hosted by Key Dives. 

Conservation Tip

Remember: seagrass plays a vital role in the ocean’s ecosystem. Numerous critters rely on seagrass for survival. So, watch your GPS and stay clear of shallow seagrass beds when boating. Props do a lot of damage to seagrass, and it’s a hefty fine!

I.CARE Tip

Along with seagrasses and corals, mangroves are another critical nearshore habitat. We must all do our part to protect our coasts. 

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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