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The Art of Rolling Reef Balls
By Bailey Clear

Bailey Clear

I am involved with the Artificial Reefs Research Project here at the Island School. For this project, we have created artificial reefs to attract greater amounts of fish to the local ocean area. These artificial reefs are basically 900-pound balls of concrete made in molds to a specific shape.

Once we created the latest batch of reef balls, we had to decide where to put them and then figure out how to move them to their spots. We finally decided that the best spots would be right along the coast, in water that is only three or four feet deep. To get the balls to their designated locations, we decided to put one giant buoy into the middle of each reef ball, then roll the ball along the coast in the shallow water, with the hope that the flotation of the buoy would make moving the ball easier.

Unfortunately, the reef balls are not completely round and are still very heavy even when they’re in the water with a buoy floating inside them. However, the rolling process went surprisingly quickly, and we managed to get four reef balls out in one day. While moving them, we sang whatever songs sprang to mind and discovered that the more grunting and loud noises we made, the easier it was to move the ball.