Monday, May 5, 2014


The Caves at Norman Island – photo by Lauren DeFino
This is the email I wrote to a local dive company in response to something appalling that I witnessed yesterday at the Caves at Norman Island, British Virgin Islands:


Dear {Local Scuba Company},

I would like to bring something to your attention and give you the opportunity to correct it.

Yesterday at the caves, my guests and I witnessed a young woman who was swimming around with a knife strapped to her leg. She had a mask on, but no fins. We saw her repeatedly diving down and stabbing her knife into the corals to pull herself along the reef, stabbing into the coral every 12 inches or so. One of my guests reported that she also saw the woman digging in the coral with her knife.

I approached her and asked her what she was doing with the knife and she replied that she was using it to pull herself along the coral. When I told her that this is bad for the reef, she replied with a nasty attitude that it is not bad, what is bad for the reef are the oils from your skin. I have been a dive instructor for 10 years, and though I agree that our oils are bad for the reef, I strongly disagree with repeatedly stabbing the coral as a means of propulsion. I asked her to please stop damaging our reef.

She swam to your boat, and it seemed like she was one of your staff members. She sat on the edge of your boat with her leg with the knife strapped to it defiantly hanging over the side of the boat. We were shocked.

Please reply as soon as possible. I need to know that this will not happen again, and that the girl has been taught not to bring a knife to the caves our any other of our national parks again. That is most certainly not what a dive knife is intended for.

Sincere thanks for helping put an end to this.

A concerned local dive instructor


I was pleased that the {Local Scuba Company} was quick to reply to my message and they were equally appalled.  They seem to be taking immediate action to figure out who this was and make sure that this never happens again.  Though they do seem in denial that it could have been one of their staff members, I’m pretty sure that it was.  They have already had a staff meeting and will make sure that all of their guests also get proper education on reef etiquette.

Coral reefs are very delicate, and sadly, we humans have contributed in countless ways to their demise.  I hope to be able to help save the coral reefs by being an advocate for them and educating people about our world’s oceans.  Keep following our blogs to learn more about our amazing oceans, and what you can do to help save them.

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