Posted by Dave Gaines on November 13, 2009 at 10:41:30:|
The Yukon has moorings. Farnsworth can too. The Yukon moorings arenít very big and dive boats of all sizes tie off to them. The buoys are on the surface in the open ocean. No oneís been injured by these moorings and I find diving from these moorings to be easier than an anchor line. And itís a lot easier for a boat to tie off to a mooring than drop an anchor.
To protect the fragile purple hydrocoral at Farnsworth from anchor damage, a mooring can be built. It only requires the will of the dive community to have one. When divers speak up and ask for a mooring, when a no-anchor zone is adopted for all of Farnsworth, when fishing is limited to no-anchorage, then this mooring will become a reality. Then divers (and commercial dive operators) will scramble into action and weíll find a motivated team of marine engineers to plan and design them.
A Farnsworth mooring should be big enough to hold the largest dive and fishing boats. Somehow USCG Captains know they can't moor a cruise ship to a small mooring. Probably only one boat would moor at the site at a time due to the size of the reef and the risk of big boats swinging too closely. So no need for multiple mooring sizes. One size fits all.
Moorings should be paid for from public funds and open to the public. This allows private use with no exclusive use for commercial operators. The natural resources at Farnsworth belong to everyone. Otherwise it becomes a private playground, like Mammoth Mountain ski resort where you have to pay an exclusive operator to get to the top. A one hour time limit and a no-take limitation on the mooring would keep boaters from hogging the mooring. And the type of fishing allowed in an SMCA, fishing for pelagic finfish does not require anchored fishing.
A Farnsworth mooring has several possible engineering solutions to support a boat and provide diver access. It cannot be solved in political action committees or by batting the idea around among divers and fisherman. The forums are a good source of input on its human use and may provide a brilliant idea, but itís not a good place to design the physical elements. Look at how the political process muddled the planning for our LA Metro Rail. The Green Line was supposed to provide a link to LAX but instead became the ride to nowhere. Too many cooks spoil the broth.
There are many ways to build this mooring. A plan should be developed based on the topography of the pinnacles. The planning and design of a mooring should be left to marine professionals who can develop a system, based on consideration for how people will use the mooring. But just to throw out a few basic scenarios that could work from this structural engineer:
A) Yes, concrete can be poured in water and the mooring anchorage or deadweight doesnít have to be right on top of the reef. A line leading to the pinnacle from a sturdy mooring line, tied off at 50 to 60 feet would lead divers to and from the pinnacle.
B) A mooring line between two or three mooring deadweights spread out widely and connecting with a lateral line to the pinnacle would lead divers to the pinnacle.
C) A tripod of precast concrete pillars based to one side in deeper water, topping out at 50 feet could form one very stout, heavy mooring. This type of structure would become a reef on its own, like an upside down oil rig. Add a lateral line to a smaller ring in the pinnacle and youíve got your safe ascent line.
D) To any scenario, add an ascent line right on top of the pinnacle attached to a submerged buoy and youíve got a safe second line of ascent for divers to ascend directly from the pinnacle. Unfortunately, nothing will help the lost diver who canít find their way back to an ascent line, a mooring line or an anchor line. They have to make a free ascent.
Adopt a no-anchor zone on Farnsworth and build a mooring for diving. It can be done.