Well it looks like we just had our first “Cold Front” passage. I know it may seem a little silly to get excited about a 3 degree shave from out normal 88 degrees but what difference the drop in humidity makes! With the passage of the front we can expect the usual shift in winds from the north and the building of an eastern wind surge. It looks like monday through wednesday will be wonderful for offshore snorkeling. The seas will be below 2 feet which is pretty decent for both visibility and comfort. Come thursday the wind surges will make their way here so you can expect the seas to get a lot more unsettled and the water visibility to drop. My advice? plan on a trip earlier in the week verses later.
Today’s picture of the week is actually a beautiful video that Trishi took on last thursday’s eco-excursion. This fly over sequence gives a good perspective of just how beautiful a healthy reef is. We are so lucky to have the eco-reserve. Please support sustainable eco-tourism in choosing excursions companies that are more concerned for true ecological discovery verses free beer and a cheap boat ride to an overused and dying reef. Enjoy your time on the water and always “Respect the Reef”.
Shameless Plug time! We have some availabilities for monday but wednesday through saturday are all booked up. Sunday has a a few seats left and looks to be a good day to be our on the water. Remember to book us early!
Reef Report for the week of 9-29-14
The operative word for snorkeling the Key West this week is go for it! We have a week of beautiful weather in store with no real big rain/wind events on tap till late week.
My prediction last week was off by a day. The wind didn’t come in till Wednesday and stayed around till late Saturday. With the wind down we should begin to see our stellar water clarity return. Water temp was 86 at the eco-reserve and thats about as good as it gets.
As for the Jellyfish we are happy to report that numbers have diminished. On Sunday’s trip we saw a few as we first got in but by time we made it to the reef they had diminished considerably. I would still recommend bringing some vinegar along just in case of a random encounter with a stray jellyfish but all in all I think the annual jellyfish migration is coming to a close.
Now for this week’s “pic” of the week. Every year during August and September when the water temps are at their highest corals begin to experience zooxanthellae (zoe-zan-thelly) abandonment. For those of us who are not so geeky, zooxanthellae is the algae that lives symbiotically with coral and gives coral a big energy boost; kinda like a “Five Hour Energy” meets “Red Bull”. This energetic coral-friendly algae is also the primary reason for all the beautiful colors we see in coral.
This match made in heaven relationship is about a perfect as it gets, or at least until the water temp starts to rise. After about 90F degrees the “Zoes” (Reef Geek for zooxanthellae) start thinking twice about their choice of real-estate and move out. When that happens the corals loose their color and their primary source of energy. Its actually a pretty scary event for us reef lovers. Without the zoes the coral can’t last long and their untimely demise is certain. The good news, at lease for now, is this annual abandonment is temporary. Yesterday, Trishi snapped this picture and you can clearly see the color starting to return. For us Reef Geeks we can finally exhale and celebrate that the reef will be getting its color, and by association, it’s vitality back. Yea!!!
Shameless plug time- Our new on-line booking page is up and running and its amazing how many people would rather book on-line then call us directly. I must admit I didn’t think it would work but alas I was wrong, imagine that! At any rate, take advantage of the great weather and consider booking with us. We definitely are not a cattle boat and certainly not in the same league when it comes to price point, but if you truly value personal attention and hanging with some passionate “Reef Huggers” then we are your best bet. Don’t forget the not so secret discount code- “reef” . Till next week be safe and respect the reef.
Reef Report for the week of 9-22-14
The operative word for this week’s snorkeling chances is a strong “Maybe”. Looks like we will experience a wind surge starting late Monday afternoon and lasting through Thursday morning. A wind surge usually bumps the wind up to 20 and with that comes 2 to 4 foot seas which is way less than stellar. Also, higher seas stir up the water quite a bit so the water will be a little more cloudy than usual.
Oh yea, did I mentioned the Jellyfish? On yesterday’s excursion we encountered a lot of Moon Jellies. Capt Trish took a big hit and needed some of our “Sting Remedy” within 10 minutes of being in the water. Normally Moon Jellies don’t pack that much of a punch but these guys must be mutants or something. Its not uncommon for a late Summer jellyfish bloom but when you couple that with higher seas and breaking waves the water can get a little itchy.
My advice for this week is wait until at least Thursday and then check the wind forecast. Perhaps we will catch a break and have things settle out earlier verses later. If you simply can’t wait or will be leaving before Thursday inquire about a trip to Cottrell Key. It is usually protected from the southeast wind and there seems to be less Jellyfish on the Gulf side. There are a few excursions in Key West that will run out to Cottrell (unfortunately not us 🙁 ). Call around and ask specifically for Cottrell Key and see what they tell you.
Thats it for today and in keeping with our commitment to shameless plugs we are still offering a 10% discount for all on-line bookings. Just type in “reef” in the discount code field on our booking website. Till next week, Respect the Reef!
Reef Report for September 7th through 14th
Well its the first full week in September and the operative word is “Hot”. The water temp out at the reserve on Sunday was a a whopping 88 degrees. No need for a wetsuit yet. Here is a breakdown of the reef conditions by day.
Seas will be up a bit so if your heading out be sure to keep your motion tabs ready. Visibility was pushing 30 feet (the wind and waves stirring things up). With the reduced visibility the soft corals should be pretty excited and viewing will be really good.
Almost a ditto of Monday hopefully the seas will lay down a bit. Maybe a T-storm or two in the late afternoon so a morning trip might prove prudent.
Seas should lay down a bit and we will get a much better visibility report. A good chance of and afternoon storm but probably not to electrical.
In a word awesome! This will be probably the best day for barrier reef snorkeling. Low rain chance and the winds are forecasted to be less than 10. Us locals call these days “Frog pond” conditions. With the decrease wind usually means better water visibility.
Not sure but Friday looks to be stormy. Got something in the Bahamas that may work its way over this direction and with it we could get some big rain. My advice? check out the Eco-Discovery Center and catch the Sound Check at the Green Parrot.
Hopefully the rain will move out by early morning and things will settle out a bit. There may be some left over swell so it could be a bit rolly in the morning. If it were me I would call and talk to the reef geek in person. I will give you a honest answer, promise!
This could be a repeat of Thursday which means stellar conditions. A lot depends on what happens with the tropical low thats riding the ridge to our north. If it all goes as forecast we should have calm seas and only a 40% chance of an afternoon “popcorn” shower. We will see.
Well thats it for September 7th through the 14th. Stay tuned for next weeks report. Till then keep it real and always “Respect the Reef”