DIVE REPORT: SUCCESSFUL REEL & STEEL TOURNEY RAISES MONEY FOR KIDS CAMP

Jeff Leonia’s family and friends participate in his namesake tournament. ERIC BILLIPS/Contributed

Conditions have been improving lately. The winds have died down slightly and visibility is back. For us, that means dive days. Have you gotten out on the water?

On Sunday, we participated in the third annual Jeff Leonia Reel & Steel Classic. It’s a fishing and spearfishing tournament that raises money for “Jeff’s Juniors Ocean Adventures Sea Camp.” That’s a camp for local kids to get dive certified, plant corals, conduct marine debris cleanup dives and take active part in ocean conservation. If we start them young, we help them become lifetime stewards of this beautiful slice of paradise. 

Jeff was a good friend of the Islamorada Dive Center family, and we miss him every day. He loved fishing and he had a big, giving heart. Therefore, the camp, scuba certifications and all classes are complimentary – thanks to the tournament – for all who qualify. Camp will be held at Postcard Inn and hosted by us, IDC. Dates and more info will be provided soon; hang tight.

Next Week’s Dive Report

This week, the weather looks nice as well. Low winds and sunshine mean time on boats and underneath the surface! Might be a nice time to give your mom a special “Mother’s Day on the Water.” 

Conservation Update

I.CARE continues to steam ahead. This is due, in large part, to our wonderful community here in the Florida Keys. From the beginning, I.CARE has been a community-led, community-funded and community-driven effort. The community continues to step up with donations and grants, which keep outplanting on schedule. 

It makes sense, because our local reefs here in Islamorada support so much of our island economy and way of life. From fishing to restaurants to hotels, everyone benefits when the reefs are intact and the oceans are healthy.

Conservation Tip

Fishing and conservation go hand in hand. A healthy reef is a sustainable reef, and everyone benefits from that. Fishing tournaments like Jeff’s help to reinforce the connection between recreation, environmentalism and us!

I.CARE Tip

ICARE will be planting this weekend on Saturday out of the Islamorada Dive Center. Bring your special mom out with us and help our reef together!

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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