DIVE REPORT: ROUGH SEAS PROVIDE A CHANCE TO EXPLORE THE KEYS BY LAND

The History of Diving Museum has tons of information and memorabilia, including Sylvia Earle’s dive suit. Contributed

Conditions this past week were a little “sporty.” That pesky wind seems to be hanging in there and keeping us from being on the water 24/7. We still did manage to get out and, coincidentally, also sold a bunch of motion sickness medicine. Ha!

The shallow reefs were “mucked up” due to the wind. It can cause currents and churn up sediment, making our normally-clear waters look milky. While still pretty, it makes it pretty hard to see anything while scuba diving. 

Therefore, our hearty divers did visit a couple deeper reefs where the churn wasn’t as bad and the visibility was better. Victory reef just off the coast of Islamorada was especially beautiful.

Next Week’s Dive Report

Same old, same old. This week, the winds will die down for just a couple days. Then, they’ll pick right back up for almost a week straight. I’d suggest availing yourself of some fun land-based activities. Just because you can’t be out on the boats doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy some water-focused activities here in the Keys. 

For example, when I get asked, “What do divers do when the wind blows?,” I have a few go-to suggestions. This is because there are so many amazing alternatives to do in the Keys.  Ever try kiteboarding? Visit our friends at Otherside Boardsports to take a kiteboarding lesson. It’s challenging and rewarding. 

You into history? Go see Lisa at the History of Diving Museum in Islamorada. Give yourself a couple of hours to walk through this museum as it is loaded with cool stuff. 

Love turtles? Visit the Turtle Hospital in Marathon. Anytime we rescue a sick or injured turtle, the hospital is waiting for us on the dock to transport the patient and fix him/her up. Schedule a tour to visit these mending turtles on their road to recovery.  

How about parks? Key Largo is home to John Pennekamp Coral reef state park, the nation’s first undersea park.

Like I said, there’s tons to do even when the winds keep you off the water. Drive down U.S. 1 and explore! 

The Turtle Hospital in Marathon is one of our favorite spots to visit on a windy day. CONTRIBUTED

Conservation Update

Victory reef is our deep site for coral restoration. Because the currents and visibility were favorable, we were able to go and plant a few endangered corals with I.CARE. We also helped maintain other outplants by removing snails and cleaning. 

Monitoring and maintenance are critical phases of coral restoration. If you’re a local diver, you can help us in these efforts for free. Thanks to new funding, I.CARE can take out a certain number of local divers for free each Friday and Saturday to participate in outplanting, monitoring and maintenance. Sign up today.

Conservation Tip

Outreach and education are critical parts of conservation. Using your surface interval to keep learning and engaging with people doing great environmental work is an awesome way to dive deeper.

I.CARE Tip

Since the winds are bad, check out the land-based nursery in Islamorada. It’s located at Bud N’ Mary’s Marina. You can visit our baby corals and learn about our efforts to restore our reefs.

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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