On Sunday morning we headed across Howe Sound to Halkett Bioherm, affectionately named Sponge Bob by the charter companies. There were really two goals for this dive trip. The first was to ascertain how much damage this site has and the second was to plant a temperature sensor on the site for a 3 month study.
On the first point -> damage. The site overall is in pretty good shape. Apparently there has been some controversy lately that a number of divers had complained about the impacts on the site from dive charter boats etc... This issue was also brought up at the last UCBC (Underwater Council of BC) meeting. Those of us on the boat this weekend agreed that it might be in the best interest of the site to install a mooring buoy which would stop any anchor damage to the site but also may have the side impact of more divers. However, looking at the bigger picture, divers can be educated but anchor impact can't be mitigated if it hits sponge.
The second goal of the day was to install a sensor at 100ft in one of the lower gardens. This sensor will stay down for 3 months and provide one data point per hour. Apparently the sponges are affected by temperature variations and the purpose of the sensor is to look at any major variations on the bottom. This project, headed up by Glen Dennison will hopefully expand with the support of some UBC students.
All from me for now, pictures are posted to flickr.