Farnsworth Banks mooring station

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Posted by Dave Gaines on November 11, 2009 at 14:28:10:

In Reply to: Farnsworth update - still open for business posted by Ken Kurtis on November 10, 2009 at 22:40:43:

Thanks for posting this account of the protection for Farnsworth Bank. You're doing great work Ken.
I am passionate about getting a proper mooring on Farnsworth. Everyone who dives Farnsworth follows the anchor line down to the anchor chain, draped across the rocks. If you look where the chain lays and drags across the rocks youíll see that the top of the reef is completely nude of coral and other marine growth. Itís not hard to figure out whatís removing the coral from the upward facing surfaces of Farnsworth - big anchor chain.
I saw Ken at our dive club meeting on Monday night. I thanked him again for all his efforts on the Marine Life Protection Act. Heís put in a lot of time and effort into preserving marine life for California divers. I also asked Ken about the anchor damage that is occurring on Farnsworth Bank, because I knew from his TWARS email that he was attending the MLPA, CF&G BRTF the next day. Ken told me what he's written here today and it has a lot of truth to it. We'd have to stop diving Farnsworth for a while if it was a no-anchor zone.
For the last 10 years Iíve asked every boat skipper whoís ever taken me to Farnsworth Bank about this dilemma. Iíve raised the idea of a boat mooring with them. Iíve always gotten pretty much the same response from dive boat operators, ďThen everyone would be able to find Farnsworth and Iíd never be able to get on the mooringĒ. (see The Solution above)
It always sounds like a business consideration for the dive boat operators. They want exclusive use of the pinnacle for running advanced dive trips. Even though I love seeing rare purple hydrocoral, have dove this fragile reef dozens of times since my first trip over 35 years ago and look forward to my next dive there, Iíve chosen not to be part of the problem at Farnsworth Bank until the anchor damage is solved. A few years of not diving Farnsworth is well worth the sacrifice if we can find a way to install a proper mooring and stop the anchor damage.
If they can adopt a no-anchor zone or mooring system in economically challenged places like Belize, Cozumel, Roatan, Curacao and Bonaire to protect their coral reefs, then so can we, here in the good old USA. Weíre well educated, more affluent, conscientious divers. We can see the consequences of our actions. Canít we?
It sounds like once again, the installation of a mooring system to protect fragile coral on Farnsworth Bank has been delayed or eliminated. We have moorings right off shore that can hold a container ship or an oil tanker in place. If we want a mooring at Farnsworth Bank thatís big enough to hold the Great Escape, the Magician, the Sea Bass or just your private little 25 foot dive boat (any boat), marine engineers can find a way to build one.
Let people know you want a boat mooring on Farnsworth Bank to eliminate the scraping of coral by anchor chains. Tell the commercial dive operators and fishing boats you wonít go to Farnsworth until itís built. Let DF&G know you believe no one should anchor there until the mooring is built and it will get done much faster. The first step is in creating a No-Take zone on Farnsworth Bank and I thank Ken Kurtis for working towards that goal.
Dave Gaines

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