Fundraiser next week to pay for materials
Stormy weather may have delayed progress, but it has not dampened the spirits of volunteers working to restore a large section of coral reef damaged by a cruise ship anchor.
Volunteers on the Cayman Magic Reef Recovery Project believe they are making slow but steady progress on the groundbreaking effort to rebuild the reef.
Joe Avary, a dive leader on the project, said divers are still spending countless hours under water sorting through rubble and salvaging live coral. Selected volunteers are being trained in “outplanting” coral – the delicate art of attaching the live coral back to the reef wall using marine epoxy.
The group is also using tree-like structures on the ocean floor as frames for pieces of live coral to grow in a safe environment with maximum access to sunlight.
“The idea is to get them some size before they are outplanted,” said Mr. Avary.
Ultimately, the reef itself will require reinforcement. The reef wall has been weakened by the accident and scientists have recommended capping it with cement to prevent further damage in stormy conditions.
As the restoration project moves into a new phase, money is required. An event has been organized at the Green Parrot at the harborfront in George Town next Friday from 6 p.m.
Foster’s Food Fair has already made a $5,000 donation, and the restoration group now believes it can surpass its original $10,000 fundraising target.
The event will feature a lionfish cookout, live music, raffles and auctions of prizes, including a live-aboard dive trip on the Aggressor, hotel staycations around the Cayman Islands, restaurant vouchers and water-sports trips.
People will be asked to make a donation at the door, with all proceeds going to the reef restoration effort. “We’ll be at the door with a bucket, and you can pay as much or as little as you like,” said Mr. Avary.
Donations may also be made via the National Trust website, www.nationaltrust.org.ky, by using the donate tab and selecting Cayman Magic Reef Recovery on the donation form.