Yesterday TISIRI and WJXT visited artificial reef sites off the coast of Jacksonville Florida. Offshore conditions were ideal with superb visibility. This was Rebecca Barry's (of WJXT) first offshore diving experience in Jacksonville. She was introduced to a three finned sea turtle, a flounder, and many other sea critters inhabiting North East Florida artificial reefs. See the video of the animals encountered and the pictures below.
More details below the pictures...
... The Native Diver II departed the dock at 7am under the helm of Captain Steve Park. Aboard the native Diver II included TISIRI's Joe Kistel, WJXT's Rebecca Barry and Joe Drumm, three Spear fishermen, Capt Park, and dive master Ed. The vessel and those aboard were heading East offshore with the hopes to accomplish multiple task.
The WJXT crew mission was to observe artificial reef life with the hopes to catch a glimpse of the invasive lion fish. TISIRI's Kistel was along to escort WJCT's Rebecca Barry with her first dives offshore Jacksonville and film the days efforts. The other divers aboard were aiming to catch dinner with their spear guns.
Once about 15 miles East of the Jacksonville Coast Capt Parks anchored at an artificial reef he called the "Shadow." The spear fishermen entered the water first and Kistel and Barry entered shortly after. The "Shadow" turned out to be a large barge and the visibility was so good Kistel and Barry could see the entire barge from any position on the structure. Kistel and Barry were surrounded by fish of all sorts and soon came across a resting sea turtle. The turtle began to approach the divers at which point they became aware this sea turtle only had three flippers. It was missing its back left flipper. Regardless the turtle seemed interested in the divers and spent some time observing Rebecca. The divers observed a diversity of life throughout the dive but did not come across any lion fish.
The second dive was on a concrete artificial reef near the Main 14+15 area. Kistel and Barry continued to look for lion fish but again did not come across any. Regardless the reef appeared to be in great shape and fish spotted included red snapper, flounder, file fish, angelfish, grouper, belted sand-fish, and many more. The visibility was superb.
Although Kistel and Barry did not get to see any lion fish; the dives were filled with intersting marine life and provided a pleasant introduction to Jacksonville diving for Barry. Kistel was able to capture quality pictures and video for WJXT and sometime next week WJXT should be airing a story regarding the dive efforts.
A big thanks to Capt Steve Park and dive master Ed!