**This blog entry orginally appeared on the website oceanspaces.org.**/p>
With ragged bluffs that have been battered for centuries by frothing swells, hidden meadows and secluded beaches it’s no wonder why people love Big Sur so much. Growing up on the central coast Big Sur seemed to be the playground of my youth. Summers spent looking for jade in Jade Cove and Thanksgiving turkey’s barbequed at Plaskett Creek Campground. I learned to ride my bike without training wheels, identify poison oak on trails, and search for sand dollars along this remote stretch of coastline. I would smell the smoke every time Big Sur experienced a wild fire, while my father (a local firefighter) brought home fire maps that would later adorn my walls. The majesty of the coastline has stayed in my heart for years , so when the central coast regional manager Dan Abbott brought up the idea of doing a 3 day Reef Check cruise down the Big Sur coast I near fell out of my chair in excitement. I had always looked at the Big Sur coastline with awe and wonder, as many do, and dreamed of diving it. My head fills with images of dense reefs with vast kelp patties, un-explored coves only accessible by boat and generally left untouched by man.
In this era of global environmental stressors like ocean acidification, rising sea temperatures and the vast reach of plastics pollution, the knowledge of what changes are occurring in these remote ecosystems is key to successfully adapting management actions to protect these rich habitats. In addition to conducting Reef Check surveys at each reef we stop at we will document the work and the ecosystems we find using Google Ocean’s latest specialized underwater camera to take panorama or “underwater street view” photos. We will upload these to Google Maps to help raise awareness of the conservation issues in this unexplored ecosystem.
This expedition plans to depart Morro Bay on the 22nd of June 2015. If you are interested in participating please contact Anna Neumann (firstname.lastname@example.org) or donation can be made to fund the project via kickstarter