“We just cleaned house out there. Got a whole trailer full of stuff,” said Coastal Realty broker John El-Koury on Monday afternoon. “Anchor, anchor chain, old buoys, miscellaneous crap, bags, line and tons of monofilament. It’s amazing how much crap is out there when you just look.”
El-Koury, who owns and operates Coastal Realty, recently partnered with the Islamorada Dive Center, the Weekly, Islamorada Beer Co., Mangrove Mike’s Café and Taking a Dump to launch an annual reef cleanup.
“I hadn’t planned to dive today, but Eric (Billips) called me last night and I couldn’t say no.”
El-Koury and Billips, who owns the Islamorada Dive Center, usually dive together every Friday morning, but added an extra day this week to collect more debris.
“The vis(ibility) wasn’t great today, but we worked that whole reef in about 90 feet of water,” he added. “It was pretty cool. Eric and his whole team worked that portion of the reef. There were lift bags all over the ocean and we just hauled it in.”
El-Koury said the Friday dives are a good way to get his head right for the weekend and it was his idea to make their recreation “constructive” by starting a reef cleanup.
Naturally, the cause will culminate in a party.
“The fish fry takes place this Saturday from 11 to 3,” El-Koury said. Participants need not register. They only need to drop off any debris collected from a recent dive or snorkel trip at his office located at 81927 Overseas Highway. In exchange they will receive free Islamorada Beer Co. brew this Saturday.
“I don’t care who shows up,” El-Koury said. “Just support the process. Anyone can pick up a raffle ticket at the door.”