Guy Harvey Magazine

WIN-SPR 2018

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 21 of 83

22 | Neptune Memorial Reef gives back to the environment by creating a habitat for a variety of living organisms that otherwise would not be present in these waters. These marine organisms range from coral, lobster and sea urchins to barracuda, stingrays and snapper. Photo courtesy of Neptune Memorial Reef. One thing is certain, the mortuary business is steady. And consistent. Which is part of the reason the Neptune Reef Project was born. Jim Hutslar, director of Neptune Memorial Reef, and his fellow Neptuners are helping people do something meaningful after they move on to that great fishing hole in the sky. Hutslar and his team offer burials at sea on a proposed 16- acre, man-made reef, which will become the largest of its kind in the world and the longest man-made barrier reef in Key Biscayne. For a fee, the Neptune Memorial Reef will sprinkle ashes of the deceased while also building a reef system for the sealife. Turns out the plan isn't as simple as it sounds. "It took us a year to figure out where to the get the permits," Hutslar said in a recent interview, "and another three years to get the actual permits." Now they are pouring 100 tons of concrete every day to expand the artificial reef that not only helps to create vital habitat for the fragile ecosystem, but also provides sanctuary for Aunt Betty or Grandpa Ricardo in a picturesque setting below the waves. So far, they have placed the ashes of around 500 souls there and are adding about 400 or 500 more spiritual beings each year. The cost to become memorialized in a watery grave? Between $2,000 to $8,000 depending on the fixings you include. They can just respectfully spread the ashes over the site or you can get the cremated remains mixed in with the concrete. You can elect to add a bronze statue, maybe a dolphin or a mermaid replica. The point is, you have choices. If that sounds expensive, maybe you haven't paid for a funeral lately. Matter of fact, according to Hutslar, those prices will soon rise. "Cremation is a growing trend," Hutslar said. "Partly because it's greener than a traditional burial at the cemetery." And when you think about it, making the jaunt to the Neptune Reef can be a lot more fun than spending your Sunday at the graveyard among rows of tombstones. You can snorkel or scuba dive in crystal-clear, beautiful water, commune with nature and know that you're in a special place for a lot "Cremation is a growing trend," Hutslar said. "Partly because it's greener than a traditional burial at the cemetery."

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