Scuba diving club plunges below the surface to restore hurricane coral reef damage – The GW Hatchet

Media Credit: Courtesy of Chloe King

Eleven members of the GDUB Scuba Diving Club spent three days in Key Largo over fall break restoring coral reef damage from Hurricane Irma.

One month after Hurricane Irma’s devastation, the GDUB Scuba Diving Club spent their fall break underwater restoring coral reef damage in the Florida Keys.

The two cofounders of GDUB Scuba Diving Club began planning a fall break trip with the Coral Restoration Foundation to dive and plant new coral in Key Largo, Fla. about a year ago. But after Hurricane Irma hit the region and devastated the aquatic life in the reef, the 11 members going on the trip had a lot more work to do than they originally expected.

Chloe King, a junior majoring in international affairs who co-founded the GDUB Scuba Diving Club two years ago, said the devastation on land was heartbreaking and they witnessed broken trees, debris and houses that had fallen apart. But below the water’s surface, the devastation was just as dramatic, she said.

“It was a ghost town, like a nuclear explosion went off and there was ash raining down, but instead of ash it was sand,” she said. “A lot of the coral was knocked off and still stirred up. Corals are the first line of defense against the hurricanes and they are usually hurt first and the most damaged.”

“I’ve been diving on those sites and it was really sad to drive around and see the debris.”

Hurricane Irma destroyed more than 600 residential and commercial structures in Florida Keys when it hit last month, the Miami Herald reported. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and state environmental and fisheries officials recently started a comprehensive assessment of coral damage sustained from Irma this month.

Eleven members from the GW group, which has about 250 members in total, spent three days in Key Largo diving twice each day starting at 7 a.m. For the first two days of the trip, the group worked with the dive shop Conch Republic and went on…

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