Florida Sea Grant Extension in Collier County

Welcome to the Collier County Sea Grant Extension Blog

This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my extension outreach efforts and useful information to make you a more informed coastal citizen. If you have any questions about what you see, feel free to contact me at fluech@ufl.edu.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Gulf Diving July 29, 2010

mangrove snapper swimmingover the
 Doctors Pass 4.5 Mile Reef
I spent most of yesterday diving in the Gulf. I assisted our County's artificial reef coordinator with some site surveys. Our first dive was to a site we hope to get permitted in the future.It was only 2 or 3 miles offshore just north of Gordan Pass. We did a bottom survey to make sure there wasn't any sensitive hardbottom habitats. Fortunately, all we saw was sand and shell rubble. Next we went over the the Doctors Pass 4.5 mile reef, which was deployed last September. Its amazing the amount of marine life that reef already holds. We saw goliath grouper, mangrove snapper, lane snapper, sheepshead, porkfish, spadefish, belted sandfish, cocoa damselfish, Gulf flounder, tomtates, bandtail pufferfish, cubbyu, and white spotted soapfish. In addition the reef is covered in barnacles, tunicates, sea cucumbers and urchins.
Next we explored the Powerhitter wreck, which is an old shrimp trawler. This was my first time diving the wreck. I was shocked I didn't see one goliath grouper, but there were plenty of other fish present. As you will see in the attached video, visibility was not great, but I'm use to that (pardon the quality of the video- I guess I don't have to worry about National Geographic recruiting me anytime soon!).

juvenile cocoa damselfish
Our last dive was on the Marco 12 mile reef. Its a smaller reef made up of culverts and junction boxes. Its been sometime since we last dove it, and I was amazed how much of it has subsided. Needless to say, I was exhausted after that day, but it was well worth it.

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