Two young Caymanians got some hands-on experience in the world of coral restoration Friday (3 March), helping out with some routine maintenance in one of the island’s coral nurseries with Cayman Eco Divers.
Cayman Eco Divers senior manager Aaron Hunt demonstrated the proper techniques for coral nursery maintenance on land before trying it underwater.
Young Caymanians Thomas Kelly and Kaylone Warren, both eager to pitch in to help preserve their native coral reefs.
“I know lots of damage has been done to the coral reefs but I hadn’t known what was being done to preserve it, so it’s been interesting to look at what’s being done to try to recover the reef,” said Mr. Kelly.
“Not much people around around the world have what we have so we try our best to take care of it as much as we can,” said Mr. Warren.
In the water, the work of scrubbing algae away from the growing staghorn corals is a meticulous but rewarding task.
“You just scrub it away, and making sure you don’t damage the coral, so just being quite gentle with it,” said Mr. Kelly. “The action of just cleaning up is quite nice.”
“You hold by the edge and then you scrape with the brush, but not too hard, just enough pressure to get the algae off of it,” said Mr. Warren.
Mr. Hunt said introducing young Caymanians to the coral nursery programme is important to its future success. He told Cayman 27 the two are doing a great job so far.
“Both the young men were very comfortable in the water, and that’s really the first and most important stop at being able to get them out there doing something effective,” said Mr. Hunt.
Both young men are keen to persue a future in diving.
“Whatever I can do to help out here all the better,” said Mr. Kelly.
“It’s just a passion, I will do it till I die,” said Mr. Warren.
Mr. Hunt said Cayman Eco Divers is pioneering a study abroad programme for college students in the US, Canada, and Cayman to help out in the coral nurseries while earning college credit.
He said there’s also a scholarship programme for Caymanians interested in participating in coral restoration work.