Artificial Reef Diving (6-5-10)

Ed Kalakauskis and Joe Kistel of TISIRI participated in two research dives this past Saturday (6-5-10) with the Jacksonville Reef Research Team.  The first dive was to a tugboat artificial reef site known as the Coppage. The second dive was on concrete material near the tug; another Jacksonville artificial reef site. 

Other diving participants on board the “Native Diver” included John Perkner, Sue Wilcox, Jim Davis, and Bill Lindholm.  Goals for the dives were to record visibility measurements, identify and count fish species, and to take photographs/video.  Each diving pair was responsible for fish counts and one or more of the mention task.

Onsite the Coppage Tug artificial reef site, we were all excited because everything was looking great.  The weather was good and the water appeared clear.  Once the diving vessel was moored, divers entered the water.  Kistel and Kalakauskis were the first pair to descend.  The water was clear and about 78 degrees on the surface but as we descended we hit a thermo cline.  Here the water temp dropped to about 70 degrees and so went the visibility.  When we reached the tug boat artificial reef, visibility was down to 20 feet.

All divers preformed their respective task and several fish species were sighted.  The tug boat, having been an artificial reef since the 80’s, looked to be in great health. Structurally the vessel is very rigid with its overall foundation intact.  The entire vessel is encrusted with several inches of growth and the fish seem to be plentiful.  See our gallery for pictures of the dive and look for the short video clip above. 

Kalakuaskis and Kistel were the 1st diving pair to descend on the second dive.  Again the water was pretty clear near the surface but at depth, under the thermo cline, the visibility was less than 20ft.  On the sea floor we explored a small section of the concrete artificial reef location, observing species present and taking photographs.  Even though we were not able to explore very far from or anchored location, we observed a large quantities and a variety of marine life. 

Probably of most interest for this dive was the sighting of two large mutton snapper and red snapper sighted inside the cavities of certain structures. Pictures of this dive are here.

All-in-all, a great day of diving in North East Florida thanks to artificial reefs!

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