Thursday, May 28, 2009

Down She Goes!!!! The Vandenberg is the newest Keys Reef

Well, it's been hotly contested issue regarding the pros and cons of scuttling what is now the world's 2nd largest intentionally sunken artificial reef, but yesterday, it finally happened. The USAFS Vandenberg now lies 6 1/2 miles off Key West, poised to be a international draw for divers and anglers alike.

Now, I understand and respect both sides of the argument. From an economic stand point, many feel that the $8Million + that the project cost to taxpayers was astronomical and not in their best interest, as well as the ongoing debate as whether these artificially reefs may actually be harmful to sealife in the long run are both valid points close to detractors' hearts.

In the end though, I side with proponents of the Key's newest attraction and here is why:

  1. As many dive enthusiasts will quickly tell you, the lower keys and Key west in particular are severely lacking in quality dive sites, especially wreck sites.

  2. The Keys will now boast 2 of the 3 largest intentionally sunk wreck reefs with the Vandenberg and the Spiegal Grove in Key Largo as numbers 2 and 3 respectively.

  3. This now completes "The Chain of Wrecks" a new Marketing attraction promoting some of the World's finest wreck diving with a chain of wrecks spanning over 100 miles from North Key Largo to now just off Key West.

  4. With the economy just reeking havoc to the Key's Tourism base, as well as the immense revenue lost as a result of The Cheeca Lodge's fire and subsequent long term closure and loss of their affluent clientele, the Keys desperately are in need of a major buzz-worthy Tourist draw.

  5. As this was sunk in May, this will, as well, bolster what is normally the Key's "Off Season" for tourism and will give many local South Floridians a reason for a "Staycation".

These are just some of the reasons that I am excited the Vandenberg. Below is a video of yesterday's pitch perfect sinking.

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