Diving in the Keys Post Irma
I couldn’t wait to see the reefs post Irma. A huge shoutout to Ocean Divers and Rainbow Reef for hosting a free dive for locals to take a break from the storm cleanup. That was extremely generous and much appreciated!
The reef has changed significantly, there’s no denying that. Whether it turns out to be good, bad or neutral remains to be seen. The reef has changed so much that I didn’t recognize sites I knew like the back of my hand before the storm.
One of the greatest challenges in the reef’s recovery here is the number of people who dive it. This is an extremely popular reef and the place a lot of new divers get their start. Buoyancy skills are something that come with time and practice so it will definitely impact the recovery process. Imagine trying to heal an injury while getting kicked all day.
So how does it look out there? The best way to tell you is to show you – all of the photos in this post were taken over 4 dives last weekend with my GoPro. I’ll be back out there today to document more. The water was very green last weekend and visibility was down to maybe 20ft. I’m hoping that cleared up this week so I can see bigger areas at a time.
The biggest changes I noticed last weekend:
- All of the sand is gone and I mean all of it.
- Parts of the reef have broken and tipped over.
- A lot of sponges and soft corals were damaged.
Overall the fish populations looked good and were returning to normal levels, except for the sand-dwellers.
We’ll see what today brings.
Until next time …
Stay warm friends!