Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Pennekamp State Park has Snorkelers kicking OUR Coral. By Geniusofdespair

I did not take these photos a kind gentleman from Europe sent them to me.

I went snorkeling on Sunday. The tide was low. It was hard to navigate over the coral with out surface swimming i.e. having your body and fins completely horizontal, moving the fins minimally. I swam around the edge where it was deeper because in some places it was very shallow over the coral-- too shallow. I saw people with their bodies vertical underwater sweeping their fins on the plants and hitting the coral and sweeping up sand.  Finally I grabbed some guy by his flotation device and said your fins are hitting the coral. He had his fins under the water's surface sweeping back and forth. They were too busy getting good photos with their photo sticks to care. The snorkel crowd were oblivious to the damage they were doing focused on bringing back good pictures to their faraway towns and cities.

If half the people going out there to the coral reefs or even a quarter (what I saw on my boat) do this over and over, day after day, what hope do we have. Plenty of foreigners were on the boat. Did they understand the minimal instructions?  I think that the concessionaires should have someone in the water with the snorkel divers at low tide to watch them and instruct people to swim horizontally, i.e. always keep their fins and body horizontal so they don't kick the coral.  I got a tsk tsk from the captain when I got back and reported it.
Yes, it is deep here, but that is how many were over the Coral.

Something has to be done at John Pennekamp State Park to save what little coral we have left. How about a flyer with a big fat red X over vertical bodies and underwater kicking of fins.


Anonymous said...

We are so fuc@#d.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I have witnessed the same disregard for the fragile corals with tour boat visitors disturbing the areas. There is no excuse for this to happen. The State should have a closer review of these incidents and provide guidance to stop this damage from occuring.

Anonymous said...

The state doesn't believe in enforcement of environmental laws. Just ask Gov. Scott or his Big Sugar friends.

Anonymous said...

There are too many of us.

Geniusofdespair said...

Maybe you are right too many. I am getting a strong distaste for people... "Kick those rug rats under the table"

Anonymous said...

I snorkeled off a private snorkel charter a month ago and experienced the same exact thing. There were 2 boats with about 25 people on each. Hopefully they just go to the same 'sacrificial' coral every day.

It's really hard to stay horizontal and I'd guess at least half the snorklers hit some coral.

$30 x 25 snorklers, that's $750 each time the boat goes out for the hour swim.

Anonymous said...

It's appalling, and it's been going on for years. Most visitors don't know any better. All dive boat operators do.

Even experienced snorkelers will have a hard time at low tide at certain places. Time for the Park Service to move a lot of its mooring buoys and HAMMER some dive operators.

Anonymous said...

While I do agree that people should be more careful around the coral reefs, it is really not going to make a difference, the ocean warming and acidification are killing the reefs. Tourists are the least of the problem.

Anonymous said...

last Anonymous

You are the problem. Making us lose all hope. What is the point of rehydrating the Everglades if it is going to be overtaken by salt water. If things are that hopeless we might as well all crawl under a rock and die. Be part of the solution.

Anonymous said...

So sad that our species is pathetically arrogant in most regards, especially when it comes to the natural world. Society has failed miserably by not teaching respect, dignity and kindness on all fronts. The destruction of the once paradise of S FL was unbearable to witness...that's one of the many reasons we left.

Anonymous said...

Genius----It's nice you have brought this problem to the surface . Maybe
the Monroe County Politicians will act on some kind of fierce legislation to
train Dive boat owners to harshly instruct snorklers of the damage that can happen and is happening to the fragile underwater coral.