Author: Tim Grollimund
Date Published: January 2, 2017
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When I moved to the Florida Keys in 2009, I had one objective in mind. Simply, to become highly proficient as an underwater photographer. For the previous several years, I had helpd my brother take care of our ailing parents. A few days before our Dad passed away (Mom had passed several weeks before), my dad said something to me that was simple, yet profound. “Go get in the water where you belong”. I will never forget that. He knew how much I loved the sea, and for fifteen years I had not been in the water. I honor my father’s wish every time I jump off a boat.
My first foray in underwater photography was in the 1980s and 1990s. Dad loved seeing my seemingly endless slide shows in that [film/E-6] era. He knew, in my heart of hearts, I needed to be by the sea. So after he passed away, I came to the Florida Keys – and I don’t plan on living out of sight of the ocean, ever.
There are 75 ebooks in the collection. My goal is to produce one per week, which will run through all of 2017 to the middle of 2018. I will post new releases on my blog site: timgrollimund.com. Stay tuned, it’s going to be an entertaining ride!
The ebooks will be initially priced at a discount for the first 90 days ($0.99). After 90 days they will increase to $2.99 – so get ‘em while they’re discounted!
The following two pages show how the column was presented in The Reporter.
Good news, bad news. I have both. Bad news first. Our coral reefs are in trouble.
CRF divers performing maintenance in the nursery
Staghorn (Acropora cerviconis) and elkhorn (A. palmata) corals are listed as Threatened, just one notch below Endangered. Threatened status is terrible, but Endangered status may threaten all of our livelihoods. See this for yourself on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife web site at www.fws.gov. Under the Endangered Species entry on the left side of the screen under Programs/Resources, click and select Florida from the state list. You will see the corals right there on the same list with turtles and whales and our famous Key Largo woodrat. If you think there are lots of government restrictions now, just wait until the level elevates that final tick from T to E.
A diver carefully gathers nursery-grown coral for replanting on the reef
In earlier columns we’ve talked about the state of the reef, preserving a unique site like Snapper Ledge, and ocean acidification and its potential future impacts on our reef. All the more reason to take the time to ponder the point of our coral situation. There is no other neighborhood in the country like ours. None. All of us who make a living from the ocean, or cater to our visitors, have a way of life I personally would not trade for any other location in this country.
Delivering prepared coral fragments to the reef
Here is the good news: the Coral Restoration Foundation (see www.coralrestoration.org and www.adoptacoral.org). This is the single most important effort I believe we can undertake to help preserve and protect our way of life. There is no chicken-and-egg question here as far as ecological priorities are concerned. Without the reef we are all screwed. It IS our livelihood. If you live the the Keys, you are dependent on the coral reef. No question about it.
A group from the Marine Biology class from the local high school helps plant coral
CRF has big plans, and also nurseries full of coral to fill the bill. Ken Nedimyer, the staff and volunteers of CRF made that clear to all in attendance in late August at a presentation held at the Murray E. Nelson Government Center through a grant from National Geographic’s Education division. They have the coral ready to go, and are cultivating more. What they need is an all-hands-in-the-water effort to help maintain the nurseries and to plant the corals.
Divers go to work planing coral on the reef
Ken gave us the history of reef degradation in the Keys, a progress report and his vision for the future. This is a small team, with only three employees, a dependable core of volunteers, and lots of corals waiting patiently to be moved to their permanent home on the reef.
A newly planted coral fragment in place on the reef
If you are a diver, or have visitors coming here that are divers, I ask you to consider planting coral. And then I’m going to ask you to come back in a few months to see how your planting has fared, and plant another one!
A student prepares a fragment for planting
Specifically, here is what needs to be done:
A student attaches the coral fragment to the reef
I’m a numbers guy (a recovering banker), so let’s look at it this way. CRF has over 34,000 corals that need to be planted. On an average day with a group of volunteers they can harvest the yearlings from the nursery and plant 50 corals (and that’s an optimistic number based on my observations). That’s about 700 planting sessions. And that does not include all the nursery maintenance and restoration at existing sites that takes at least the same amount of time. So for grins let’s call it 1,500 dive days. Three staff people and groups of volunteers. If they dove every day for four years, they still would not be done. Get the picture? There’s plenty of work to be done.
Divers plant the corals in close proximity so they will grow together as they mature
If you need any convincing at all, one dive on the Wellwood site will make the indelible impression you need to begin taking action.
A couple of marine biology students show the coral they are getting ready to plant
CRF has a lot in the works for developing community involvement. They are asking dive operators to advertise and run coral nursery, restoration and maintenance trips. Other ways dive shops can help are to offer a PADI Distinctive Specialty Certification in coral restoration, sponsor reef restoration sites and encourage and train divers in reef etiquette.
Ken Nedimyer inspects coral he planted a couple of years ago
For business partners CRF asks you to participate in coral reef education through displaying brochures, playing their looped video in your establishment, and having website links to CRF. Business owners can also promote CRF by sponsoring restoration sites and encouraging donations.
A yellowhead wrasse checks out its new neighbor on the reef
Again, as in the case of the development of the mooring buoy system, we have a leading edge in the development of practices that have an astronomical effect on the health of the reef system. And CRF’s proven techniques are easily exportable to other reef-dependent cultures around the world. The critical aspect right now is to demonstrate to the world that our community can band together to accomplish something on an extraordinary scale. And then help others do the same.
CRF is making a difference, as evidenced by these healthy 2-years old plantings
As a community we need to take action to protect our way of life. The more I learn through talking to folks who have lived here since the 60s and 70s, the more I realize we have a monumental task ahead of us. The coral reef system is our sustenance. It’s our life blood. It’s the core of our culture. We could have just as easily been called “The Reef Republic” – that’s what we truly are. Without the reef, we have no conch.
These corals have been on the reef for two years, and are creating habitat for other marine life
I am a freelance photographer and PADI divemaster based in Key Largo, Florida. After a career in banking, marketing and consulting I moved to Key Largo in August 2009 to pursue my passion for underwater photography.
In December 2010 I won the underwater photography contest conducted during the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park 50th Anniversary Celebration. That led to a gig as the scuba diving columnist for the local newspaper.
It also led to a direct involvement with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary as a member of the Ecosystem Protection Working Group and as an Alternate member of the FKNMS Advisory Council.
From January 2011 to April 2014 I wrote a bi-weekly column called DIVE TIME for The Reporter in the Upper Keys. Each time I wrote a column, I included a collection of images for the editor to choose from for the print edition. The editor did not have space available in the print edition to run all the images. I always felt a little “short-sheeted”, since all the photos I selected, to me, belonged with the column. I have always wanted to publish the columns as ebooks, and include all the images.
As the newspaper column developed, I became enamored with the behaviors of the critters I was spending many hours with on the reefs of the Upper Keys. As an extension of that curiosity, I ended up spending over a year as a representative on a working group for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and for a short while, as an Alternate member of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council.
I spent endless hours reading the science and interviewing any scientist that would talk to me, with the objective of conveying their findings to the public in understandable language. As all this progressed, I wrote more and more about the science. I have compiled these as a series, which I call the “Sanctuary Science Series”.
Thank you for your interest in the ocean. It has been a great learning experience for me to find a subject, go through the discovery process by reading the science, and now, through this ebook format, to expand on the concepts and the images from the original columns published in The Reporter.
All the best to you as you dive with me to learn more about marine life.
Email: [email protected]
The Key Largo area has several wrecks that attract divers from all over the world.
The wrecks that get the most attention in the Key Largo area are the Spiegel Grove, Duane and Benwood.
Visit the website at: www.timgimages.com
This series focuses on a wide range of scientific topics. Several of these were associated with my trips to Aquarius Reef Base. The others were primarily from the time I spent as a Working Group Member and an Alternate Representative for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council.
There are 25 ebooks in this series. A loose generalization of the topics includes:
Over the years I wrote the newspaper columns, these topics generated the most spirited discussions in the Working Group meetings. Only time will tell if the conservation or the commercial interests prevail. In the next couple of years new regulations and boundaries will be released. Based on my experience, extreme opposition from some groups to increase protected areas may have a negative environmental impact on the health of the reef. The Florida Keys are in trouble. It’s all outlined in the Sanctuary Science Series. Visit the website at: www.timgimages.com
There are over 45 ebooks in this group. Many of the columns were species-specific. These were the most fun to write, since they were based on an innate curiosity for something I saw or wanted to know about a particular animal. This batch of ebooks also includes pieces from my trips to Indonesia and the Philippines.
Here are some of the topics in this group:
The variety of life on the reef can be quite exhilarating. I hope you share my enthusiasm as you dive deep into this abundance of species. Visit the website at: www.timgimages.com
The images you see on these pages are available on my website. Each image in the ebook has a link to the order page on the site.
There are many sizes and styles of prints. Personally I prefer the Metal Prints. They are the most durable, bright and crisp presentations of the image, and come ready to hang.
When you click on any of the images in the text, you will see the one you selected and many more to check out. Visit the website at: www.timgimages.com
The coffee mugs, mousepads and phone cases are the most popular items.
You can also make post cards, key chains and coasters if that floats your boat!
Have some fun when you order the images and keepsakes – I certainly had a lot of fun
creating the images and writing the columns!
These make great gifts for your scuba diving friends! Visit the website at: www.timgimages.com
Need images for your ad campaign or editorial piece?
Contact me directly and we can discuss your specific use.
Email me: [email protected]
or Click to Call: 305-508-5545
There is good news and bad news about our coral reefs. The bad news is: reefs around the world are in trouble. A host of factors contribute to the decline of reef ecosystems. The good news is: there is a wholehearted effort to combat reef degradation at the local level. The Coral Restoration Foundation, in Key Largo, Florida, is a pioneer in growing and transplanting coral on the reefs in the Florida Keys. CRF also has nurseries budding in many places throughout the Caribbean. In this free ebook, Tim Grollimund - a diver, underwater photographer, volunteer and columnist in Key Largo, tells you about this experience diving with CRF with his words and images. This ebook is the first of seventy-five ebooks based on his newspaper columns. Get a sample of what's to come in future ebooks from Tim. Pictures really do tell the story.