Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Day 4; Underwater Demolition at Cayo Ron

The tired but stoked demolition crew
 Last Thursday, a stacked  crew joined myself, Paco and Carlos of Monaquatics, and Captain Edwin "Pauco" Font to participate in the chapters' coral reef restoration project titled "Coral Reef Protection through Marine Debris Removal in two Marine Protected Areas (MPAs); Arrecifes de Tourmaline and Reserva Marina Tres Palmas.  The goal of Thursday's adventure was to demolish the boat hull by cutting it with a 36" underwater chainsaw and transplant additional corals from the rudder.  After an extremely long and arduous effort we were successful.  The chapter would like to thank Taino Divers for providing 9 tanks of air, Paco and Carlos from Monaquatics for providing 6 tanks of air, Surf 787 for providing a soft-top surfboard, Hector Ruiz from Reefscaping for his contribution of pre-mixed cement and other supplies to properly transplant the corals, Sean Griffin NOAAs' Puerto Rico reef restoration field coordinator for field oversight,  Shayne McIntyre from OnSafari as well as Omar Ortiz from Seagrant for documenting, DRNA and Idelfonso Ruiz for debris pickup, and lastly but certainly not least the Atlantis Diving Contractors crew of 4 Miquel Molina, David Jesus, Luis Colon and Juan Colon for the underwater demolition services they provided.  Thanks!!  Below are photos from the Thursday's activities.

Luis Colon of Atlantis Diving Contractors cuts a portion of the large boat hull.  The insets are different angles taken during his cut.  The lower image shows the boat hull in pieces at our drop spot in a wide open sediment area.  These pieces were subsequently lift bagged and brought onto the boat; it is not as easy as it sounds because some of them weighed 400-500 lbs! (photo: S.McIntyre)

Here I am swimming subsurface with a portion of the bow guiding it to our designated drop spot.  This was a bit more of a tame piece to move that only required the use of 2 50 lb lift bags, but you can clearly see it is much larger than me. (Photo S.McIntyre) 

The diagram above is a 3-Dimensional perspective of the debris field at Cayo Ron. The approximate size of the debris field is 3.2 acres and has been the focus of our efforts. The upper image depicts an aerial image of a portion of the western insular platform with the northwestern region of Cayo Ron displaying a bathymetry layer. The middle inset corresponds a different view of the bathymetry layer of Cayo Ron with the lower view representing the 3D line of sight at water level. This gives the viewer a unique perspective as to how the debris is depicted spatially in the backreef at Cayo Ron. Note: The objects are accurate in space but not in size. Waypoints depicted their whereabouts and their size was scaled relative to the recorded size of each piece/object and scaled using symbology in ArcGIS. The least accurate attribute of this image is the amount of surface the pieces are actually covering at Cayo Ron in the image. Future depictions will correct for this.

We have one more field day left for our work at Cayo Ron then we will be shifting our efforts towards Rincon.  If you would like to join us for our last field day at Cayo Ron to be held sometime during the week of 9/26 please contact me by email.  Thanks! 

Contact Wessley Merten at 787-436-8300 or wessley.merten@upr.edu for more information on helping out in this coral reef restoration and marine debris removal effort.

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