Aug 27, 2010
Commissioner Carl Blow, of St Augustine Port Waterway & Beach District, escorted TISIRI Divers Joe Kistel and Ed Kalakauskis offshore to perform the first ever dive on the Andy King Reef.
Carl anchored the boat over the North end of the reef site where the larger, full length pilings, were deployed. Kistel and Kalakauskis descended down the anchor line on the first dive with photography and observation goals in mind. Commissioner Blow hit the bull’s-eye with the anchor for we descended in an area that appeared to be in the center of the large piling deployment. Amazingly, even though only a few weeks old, the concrete piling artificial reef was holding a significant amount of fish. Kistel and Kalakauskis were surrounded by Triggerfish the entire dive.
Not long into the dive Kistel witnessed Kalakauskis getting bit by a triggerfish and found it very humorous, until he himself was bit as well. Both divers were bit a handful of times on this dive and the fish were so intent on biting that it made photography efforts difficult. The triggerfish even would bite the camera and the diver’s gear. These fish eat hard shelled critters for a living so you can imagine that their bite packs some punch.
Kistel was able to get a few shots of the reef layout while Kalakauskis noted the sea floor sediment and stability.
The second dive was made in the same location but the focus was to video the area. The divers were a bit nervous after their experiences with the triggerfish during the 1st dive. There apprehension was correct because they were bit several more times by the fish during this dive. Kistel reported bites to the hand, ear, and head while Kalakaukis took most of the hits on his fingers. Regardless of the biting fish objectives were met.
Dive conditions were good with flat calm seas. The visibility at the shallow artificial reef site was 10-15 feet, so picture and video efforts proved difficult.
Divers were impressed with the reef layout and feel the reef will prove to become a biologically productive one. The efforts put forth in this artificial reef project will be well worthwhile as this marine habitat evolves.
Commissioner Blow was very influential in making this reef project a reality. Artificial Reef creation is a very involved task and it takes motivated people like Carl Blow to make them happen. Thanks for your efforts Carl.