The 2017 Expedition is Coming!

As I write this, we’re just a little over a week away from loading up the truck and trailer and heading south to our favorite area.  I have mixed emotions as the date looms.  On one hand, I can’t wait to get back down to my most favorite spot on the planet, and I’m so overdue for a compressed air fix, I can’t see straight.  On the other hand, money is tight as it always seems to be and with this trip, there are some logistics issues that as of yet are still unresolved.

This time around, we aren’t hauling a boat down with us.  The original plan was that we  were going to rent a boat down there.  Unfortunately, the first problem we ran into is due to life intrusions, two of our team members won’t be joining us.  Since this project is almost entirely self funded so far, this put a huge dent in the boat rental budget, putting a reasonable rental out of reach of the rest of the team.  Then, enter Irma.  At this point, I’m not sure the rental boat we considered is even available at the moment.

So, plan B (maybe C actually) is to simply go out with one of the local commercial charters.  Unfortunately at most recent check, our preferred local charter doesn’t have boats in the water yet.  Worse, at this late hour, our boat isn’t ready for the trip, so that’s not an option.

But, we will prevail.  We’re still going down, and we’re going to help the local economy with at least a few project dollars :-).  We’ll figure out the diving as we go.

On the bright side, while we’re down there, we’re hoping to check out what the Coral Restoration Foundation is doing.  They are growing coral “seedlings” in their own farms and then transplanting them on the reef to rejuvenate it.  If that’s not the kind of reef preservation and restoration we’re trying to support, I don’t know what is.

Our preferred local charter has also indicated that when they do get boats in the water they anticipate having to make a number of work dives to clean up debris from Irma.  We’ve indicated that we’re willing to help with those also.

In the mean time, we can still use all the help we can get.  If you’d like to help, perhaps you’ll check out our funding incentives page?  We’ve had a couple new contributors recently that we’ve added to the recognition page.  We’d love to add more!

Thanks for reading!  Hope to see you on the reef!

~ Steve

Size Does Matter!

Just in case you’re wondering, the Underwater Sombrero book, when published is anticipated to be a full size, hard cover, dust jacketed publication.   We’re planning to include about 200 pages of Sombrero Key beauty and information!   The below image shows a good representation of scale.  Won’t you please consider one of our funding incentives?  It’s not a donation, it’s an advance purchase, and it helps us get our project done!

Teaser Video!

While we obviously aren’t going to be putting video in our book, we are collecting video on our expeditions and dives.  We’ll be using this, at a minimum, to reward our project supporters and possibly even to create a salable DVD which would also be used to benefit our target charity Reef Relief!   Here’s a short teaser of some of the video we captured on one of our 2012 dives.

Size Does Matter!

In case you’re wondering about the size of the finished book the Underwater Sombrero project is hoping to put together, here’s a visual reference.   This book is the same size and about the same number of pages as the book we’re proposing.   We don’t know yet if we’ll use a horizontal orientation or a vertical orientation (like in this image).  That decision will come later after we’ve had a chance to capture more images and start working on the layout.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, we’d sure appreciate it if you’d visit the project proposal on Kickstarter and perhaps pledge your support!

How does Kickstarter work?

Are you considering supporting our Underwater Sombrero project, but want more information on how supporting it works before you decide?

The process is very simple.  Project owners put together a proposal for their project and submit it to Kickstarter for approval.  Among other things, that proposal includes a funding goal and a funding timeline.   The goal is the amount of money the project needs to succeed, and the timeline is the amount of time the project planners want to have to try to recruit enough project supporters to meet the funding goal.

In our case, we’ve determined we need at least $8000 to make our project succeed and we’ve decided that we’re going to try to meet that goal in 30 days.  After Kickstarter reviews our project and determines it meets their guidelines, the project is launched.  Once the project is launched, our job is to recruit supporters and get their pledge to support the project.   When a supporter makes a pledge, they provide their billing information, pledge amount and credit card number.   There is NO CHARGE at the time of the pledge.   Pledge amounts start at one dollar ($1) and we’ll happily accept all the support we can get.

Once the deadline is reached, IF there are enough supporters to meet at least the $8000 goal, then the project is funded, supporters credit cards are billed, the resulting money is transferred and the project work begins.     In return for the pledge, the supporter will receive an incentive item.  This item is based on the amount of support and at any level is a product of the project.  Supporters receive their pledge incentives when the project has been completed and the incentives are produced.

With respect to the Underwater Sombrero project the timeline is this:

  • We launch September 5, 2012 (in celebration of the project lead’s birthday 🙂 )
  • We recruit project supporters pledges for 30 days.
  • If you pledge to support the project, you agree to an amount and provide your billing info at the time of the pledge, BUT ARE NOT CHARGED
  • On October 5, 2012, if we reach our $8000 goal, your card will be charged for the amount you pledge.  If the goal is not met, there is no charge.  Kickstarter projects are ALL OR NOTHING.
  • If funded, we’ll receive access to the funds mid October and will start project work
  • If there are extra funds, they will be applied to improving the project with video and possibly a larger book product.
  • Project related travel and SCUBA diving will be conducted late December
  • Book and incentive preparation is expected to be done by March 2013 and supporters will receive the prints, books and other materials based on their level of support.

Please keep in mind that your support of our project IS NOT A DONATION.   With your support of our project, you are purchasing a tangible item and with this purchase, making our project a reality.

We appreciate that you’re considering supporting the Underwater Sombrero project.  Thank you for your time.  If you have questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to send us an email at