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Fundraising Campaign Announced for Cayman Reef Restoration Project

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Cayman

Community event with food, music, and prizes planned on the waterfront on the 27th February; organizers hope to raise $10,000 

A fundraising campaign has been launched in Grand Cayman to help finance and sustain a major reef restoration project currently being done by volunteer divers supported by local dive operators, and overseen by the Cayman Islands Department of Environment. During the past five months volunteers have donated hundreds of man-hours to repair the devastating damage caused when a cruise ship dragged its anchor across a dive site in August. Diving from shore and on weekend boat trips donated by Red Sail Sports, Divetech and other operators, the volunteers have removed tons of rubble and salvaged pieces of live coral to be replanted in the restoration process. Now they’re fanning out into the community to help raise money to keep going.

“Everyone’s been giving of themselves to the project, so we have decided to have a fundraiser to recoup some expenses, buy supplies and go forward,” said Keith Sahm, General Manager for Sunset House and co-coordinator of the project. “The goal is to raise $10,000 and we’ve got the Cayman government’s full backing.”

Sahm says marine science experts have suggested capping the scarred area on the reef base with concrete to keep the particles and silt from floating around and affecting nearby live corals, so bags of cement are needed for that phase of the project. A special marine epoxy to reattach live corals to the base must also be ordered. Some live corals have already been reattached to the surrounding reef and they are doing well according to project co-coordinator Lois Hatcher of Ocean Frontiers, who is experienced with this coral restoration technique.

“Its amazing! The ones we replanted look really good,” she says, giving credit to the whole team of volunteer divers who are a part of this daunting project, expected to take a year to complete. “We’re lucky to have a good strong core of volunteers who care deeply and are dedicated to the effort. Everyone is working well together.”

“We are headed there slowly,” added Keith Sahm.

The volunteers are now knocking on doors in Cayman’s business community soliciting donations for the cause. A fundraising event is also planned for Friday the 27th February at the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal on the waterfront in George Town. The fundraising festivities will be held in late afternoon after the cruise ship traffic has cleared. Organizers are lining up music, sponsors and prizes for a silent auction and drawings. T-shirts are also being printed for the cause and will be available for purchase.

Donations for the Cayman Magic Reef Restoration Project can also be made online with the National Trust for the Cayman Islands. Online contributions must be designated for the Environmental Programs listed on the giving page.

www.nationaltrust.org.ky

Response so far from Cayman’s community is generous says Hatcher, adding that some people have come forward to donate supplies without being asked. Renowned sculptor Simon Morris, who created “Amphitrite” the mermaid at Sunset House, “The Guardian of the Reef” at Divetech Lighthouse Point dive site, and “Tradition”, the sculpture of the man and boy in Heroes Square in Georgetown, is also pitching in to help the cause. He’s donating 40% of the proceeds from the sale of any bronze sculpture in current inventory to the restoration project.

“The tireless and generous efforts of all the volunteer divers and companies donating support in cash and kind to restore the terrible reef damage prove once again that Grand Cayman has true spirit and many heroes,” he said. “Every time I visit I am overwhelmed at the treatment I receive. My art is all about our need to love and protect our marine environment, and if it can be used to help in anyway to assist in the efforts to repair the reef, I’ll be grateful for the opportunity.”

Divers planning to visit Cayman on vacation are also offering to get involved with the project during their stay. Organizers say they can use all the help they can get. As they reach out to the community, the volunteers are spreading the message that keeps them going and working for a successful fundraising campaign.

“We’re working to save Cayman’s marine environment for the future so we can’t afford for it not to be a success,” Hatcher said.

For more information on the fundraising campaign for the Magic Reef Restoration Project contact Keith Sahm at keith.sahm@sunsethouse.com or Lois Hatcher at lohatcher@gmail.com. You can also visit the Cayman Magic Reef Restoration Project Facebook Page:  Cayman Magic Reef Restoration Project

Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Jo Cutler, a contestant in the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-large, chats to Jo Cutler, a contestant in the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition. The See you at the Sea Festival was an online film festival created by young people, for young people.

Jo’s film – An Evolving Story – can be seen here:

Fifth in a series of six videos about the competition. Watch the first video HERE with Jenn Sandiford – Youth Engagement Officer with the Your Shore Beach Rangers Project and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust – to find out more about the Competition. Each day this week will be sharing one video in which Jeff talks with the young contestants about their films and what inspired them.


For more information please visit:

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Miscellaneous Blogs

The BiG Scuba Podcast… with Stephan Whelan

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Next in a new series of podcasts shared by our friends Gemma and Ian aka The BiG Scuba Podcast…

Ian and Gemma chat to Stephan Whelan.  Stephan is the Founder and Publisher of DeeperBlue.com. His passion for the underwater world started at 8 years-old with a try-dive in a hotel pool on holiday that soon formulated into a lifelong love affair with the oceans and led him to become one of the leading figures in the diving media industry.

Stephan got bitten by the diving bug early in life. His first scuba experience was a try-dive when he was eight years old on a family holiday in Europe, and from that moment, he was addicted. He learned to dive properly with BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club) as soon as he could at school and then did his BSAC Assistant Instructor when he turned 16. By the time he was heading to university in 1996, he was hooked on teaching and diving as much as he could.

By the time he started studying at university, he decided to have a go at flexing his web-design skills by publishing some of the stories he had built up about various ‘challenging’ students and dives he had encountered, and so deeperblue.net (as it was known then) was created. He published numerous personal stories until 1998 when other writers began enquiring about contributing to the site with their tales, and it was at this moment he decided to make it more like a magazine format and began asking for volunteer helpers. He got a couple of editors on board, and plenty of writers began contributing.

DeeperBlue.com (or DB as it’s become to be known) is now one of the most-popular diving websites in the world and has grown to publish over 9,000 articles covering all sorts of topics like Freediving, Scuba Diving, Ocean Advocacy, and Diving Travel all the while keeping over half-a-million passionate divers from the diving community connected every month through the forums, large social media following, mobile app, and recently launched podcast.

WEB: deeperblue.com

FB: facebook.com/deeperbluedotcom

IG: instagram.com/deeperbluegram

Twitter: twitter.com/deeperblue

YouTube: youtube.com/deeperbluevideo

App: deeperblue.com/app/

Podcast: deeperblue.com/podcast/


Find more podcast episodes and information at www.thebigscuba.com and on most social platforms @thebigscuba 

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