In a BVI Dive Operator meeting about a year ago, all the dive operators in the BVI were discussing ways to promote the dive industry in the British Virgin Islands. One chat lead to another and our PADI Instructor Ben came up with the idea to make an artificial kelp forest or sponge forest.
As Sunchaser Scuba maintains the mooring field at the Bitter End Yacht Club, in the North Sound of Virgin Gorda, where we are located, we know how amazing the growth on the mooring lines is. Whenever we replace the lines, normally the old lines get discarded. So instead of creating more trash, could we reuse or re purpose these lines and create an artificial reef.
As the mooring field hasn’t been used since Irma in 2017, a lot of the mooring lines were due replacement anyway. So we asked Bitter End Yacht Club if they were happy to donate the old mooring lines. They were thrilled about the project and told us to go ahead and start making the necessary repairs and thus assess and replace the lines.
So to work we went and last June and July we started to check and measure the lines that needed replacing and splice new lines to replace the old ones.
The sponge forest (name to be decided in the upcoming naming contest) has a total of 52 recycled down lines from the Bitter End Yacht Club mooring field. This is a total of 2178 ft or 660 meters of 1 inch line. Bitter End Yacht Club donated these lines for BVI Dive Operators to use.
The lines were transported and installed by Sunchaser Scuba in 55 gallon plastic tubs with salt water to their new location at Coral Gardens, Great Dog, next to the new Shark Planeo dive site.
These lines were placed on a 45ft long H-beam, donated by Commercial Dive Services. 34 lines are standing up right and 18 more lines form an arch which you can dive under. The lines sit in about 40ft of water and get as shallow as 15ft below the surface.
The lines are attached to the H-beam and the arches are finished with 18 sand screws. These sand screws are 48”tall and were walked into the ocean floor by 2 divers. A total of 70 shackles were used to connect all the lines to the beam and screws. The lines are being kept afloat by 52 floats which measure 7 ½ “ by 15”.
All materials needed for this project were donated by BVISO and therefor all dive operators in the BVI.
As the project has finally been completed after almost a year of being a work in progress, it is time to find a suitable name for this new dive site! So enter our social media naming competition and get your name on this new dive site.