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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Florida & SE US East Coast > Florida - Keys
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  #1  
Old 07-27-2011
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Unhappy dead reefs

Just got back from sailing in the fl. Keys. made it down to Key West an back up to Coconut Grove. Dove on the reefs down in Key Largo on Molassess Reef. Its dead. We were on our 42 Vagabond and grabbed one of the moorings. Surrounded by 8 or 10 dive boats all with tourist, snorkling and scuba. we dove over the side and luckly had fins on, the current was strong and might have taken me away if not for the fins! The reef thou was 95% dead. Maybe 5% had living coral, the rest was gray an filled with sea grass for the colorful fish to feed on. I lived in the Keys in the 70's and it was a real living reef. I know, 'the good old days' but I don't think all those tourist knew what they were witnessing. Has anyone else experinced this?
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Old 07-27-2011
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I dove on Molasses reef a few times this year and it was quite alive, at least where I saw it. Quite a bit of coral - perhaps not the kind of stuff you see in Caribbean (no native elkhorn) but nice coral nevertheless.

It is true that some reefs around the Keys are fairly dead (American shoal is all seaweed for example, and Alligator reef is spotty). Others are in pretty good shape - Molasses seemed to be the latter as is Looe key.
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Old 07-27-2011
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thank you for the positive feedback. I wish I saw that living reef. The mooring balls are directly in front of the Molassess Reef lite and we were on the closest ball. In about 20 feet of water. very gray an broken coral. I'll be back next year and take some photos.
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Old 07-28-2011
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I've dove all of those. French reef is my favorite because of the swim troughs. Key West is even worse as far as dead reefs go. There is hope though. They are finding that reefs can revive at a faster rate than previously thought and there are plenty of scientists committed to this area of research.

Dr. Mary Hagedorn a Smithsonian fellow currently at the University of Hawaii is one of these committed people.


‪Meet Our Scientist: Mary Hagedorn - Coral Science‬‏ - YouTube

Help Mary Save Coral | Home
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Old 08-01-2011
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Keys Reef Mooring Balls

May we assume that the mooring balls around the reefs in the Keys are located so that we will not fetch up on the reef with our almost 7 ft draft?
We are looking at going to the Keys this winter.
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Old 12-05-2011
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It's the same dead reef problem in the Andaman Sea Thailand. Every year it's worse.Could it have something to do with temperature and acidity? The oysters and mussels in B.C. are not doing well either. Maybe there's a connection?
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Old 02-29-2012
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I see this post is old but,

Yes Len, a great deal of research points in the direction that it is more temperature than acidity (pH). The species of coral that have evolved to live in these waters cannot take the 1-2 degree change in water temperature that is happening and are simlpy dying. There is a arge amountl of info on the web if you are interested further.
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Old 04-03-2013
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Re: dead reefs

I spend more time on Alligator Reef and other sites off Islamorada. I've witnessed a major decline in live coral from the 1980's to about 2000. In the past decade, I've seen some real progress and new growth. Many of the issues killing Florida Bay (redirecting the Everglades and limiting natural water flow) were slowed by Hurricane Andrew. The water flow issues are slowly being addressed. The Algae bloom was flushed and since then I have been very happy with the progress. Islamorada seems healthier to me now than it has in 20+ years.

Here's hoping the trend continues...
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Old 04-03-2013
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Re: dead reefs

thanks for reviving this thread.
always interested in updates on the keys reefs.
this june we're heading for the bahamas for a few months.
we'll see how their reefs compare.
we lived there in the 70's. and there were no 'dead reefs' just beauty!
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