DIVE REPORT: DIVING INTO HISTORY & RESTORING OUR ECOSYSTEMS

DWP divers measure and map a wreck in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. CONTRIBUTED

The conditions last week were excellent. The summer conditions of our Keys are definitely starting. This means low wind, low current and excellent visibility.

We had a great organization with us throughout the week. Diving With a Purpose (DWP) is an American non-profit organization focused on locating and documenting wrecks. They have a particular interest in ships linked to the transatlantic slave trade and work to uncover and heal this deep cultural wound.

This week we took DWP and NOAA to several sites where they trained and conducted underwater archaeological dives. On Hen and Chickens Reef off Tavernier, they measured and mapped the environment around a popular wreck known as the Brick Barge.

DWP divers pose on the bow of the boat for a group photo after a successful week with IDC. CONTRIBUTED

DWP began as a partnership between members of the National Association of Black Scuba Divers and Biscayne National Park. In 2004, they went in search of an infamous lost slave ship, the Guerrero, off the Keys. This mission sparked a new passion in DWP founder Ken Stewart, who began to think of a way to literally dive into history and share the important stories associated with shipwrecks.

Next week’s dive report

All of next week should have the same incredible conditions. Go ahead and enjoy our Keys waters with us.

Conservation Update

On Saturday, I.CARE planted more corals, sponges and crabs on the “Rocky Top” reef.

On the reef, these species do not exist in a vacuum; instead, they rely on each other and have symbiotic relationships. Therefore, I.CARE not only focuses on “just corals”, but also restores invertebrates, hooked reef crabs, etc. which are necessary for the proper functioning of the ecosystem.

This holistic restoration strategy really shows why I.CARE goes above and beyond to bring the whole ecosystem back.

Conservation advice

With our summer days ahead of us, more and more people will be spending time in our oceans, diving, snorkeling and swimming. Help our reefs by only using “reef safe” sunscreen.

I.CARE Consulting

Saturday, I.CARE will come to restore our reefs with Key Dives. Remember that locals can plant and monitor these corals for free. If you’re a local, spend a Saturday restoring our reefs for free.