Fisherman's remains join's Bay's reef
By the Associated
Published April 29,
NORFOLK, Va. -- An avid fisherman, John Grayson
Rogers advocated for artificial reefs to encourage marine life. Now
his cremated remains are within an "eternal reef ball" in waters off
his Eastern Shore home.
As friends and family cast red roses
and said final goodbyes from a ship Monday, the concrete ball was
lowered slowly into the green depths of the Chesapeake Bay.
"He's on the bottom now,
ladies and gentlemen!" announced a worker for Sea Search of
Virginia, a Norfolk company that makes, sells and sinks these
artificial reefs that resemble giant pocked balls.
they're finally doing this," said his wife, Virginia Rogers,
"because I know he'd love this being done. The water, the bay.
Taking care of it was his priority."
While Rogers was a
grocer for much of his 76 years, his passion was fishing, and the
protection of that sport for future generations.
boatloads of old fishing buddies, longtime friends, state officials
and a Coast Guard crew made the trip to Rogers's final resting
spot--about 3 miles north of the mouth of Nassawadox Creek, in about
30 feet of water.
His reef ball joins an existing artificial
reef there, one of 16 in state waters in the lower Chesapeake and
along the Atlantic coast. Each is marked with a yellow buoy, and
each consists of stuff like surplus Army tanks, trucks, fishing
boats, rail cars and unwanted concrete slabs from highways and
A Georgia company, Eternal Reefs, started offering
these alternative funerals in 1998. So far, about 125 reef balls
have been submerged, mostly off Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
The balls cost between $850 and $3,200, depending on size.
The Rogers family bought a larger one, called a "pallet ball," about
3 feet high and 4 feet wide. It weighs more than 1,400 pounds and
acts as a small marine habitat, attracting fish to its hollow
interior and shellfish to its concrete sides.
Sea Search of
Virginia is negotiating with state regulators to allow more eternal
balls in the bay.
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