KEY LARGO — This summer Friends of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park will install a webcam at the Mosquito Banks patch reef, one of only a handful of underwater webcams throughout the country, and the first in the Florida Keys.
Once installed, viewers can watch, in the moment, fish swimming and coral swaying under the sea, from the ease and comfort of dry land, on their computers. The 360 degree view camera will be mounted on an existing post, so as not to disturb the seabed. The self cleaning camera is manufactured, and will be installed by, “View into the Blue” out of Boulder, CO. It will include a sensor that can read ocean temperature, salinity, oxygen and light levels in real time, letting us learn more about our local ecosystem, according to their managing Director, Trevor Menelow. He added: “it is a much different experience than diving or snorkeling. When watching an unattended underwater camera, with no human present, animals carry on their normal activities and interactions.”
Financial partners in this project are the Ocean Reef Conservation Association, and Rod and Gun Club, and Bass Pro Shops. Jack Salisbury, chairman of the Conservation Association, said “we are pleased to continue our support and involvement with Friends of John Pennekamp, and the coral cam initiative will facilitate support for other important projects to be completed”.
The constant live webcam recording of our undersea reef world will be available to members of the Friends of John Pennekamp (join at pennekampparkfriends.org), and participating dive and fishing shops.
A second camera, at a different reef location, is currently under consideration as well.