• Dive group producing TV special: 'Jacksonville's Underwater Secrets'

    By: Kristy Wolski


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A local dive group is producing a television special to highlight the hidden underwater treasures off the  coast of Jacksonville and St. Augustine.

    TISIRI is an organization that creates and protects reefs off the coast. The coasts are home to dozens of species that many North Florida residents will never get to see firsthand.

    “There’s this underwater amazing world that we’re going to bring to life,” said Joe Kistel, TISIRI executive director.

    TISIRI divers are now gathering video for a 30-minute PBS television special that will provide a look below the surface.

    “We’re going to show the diversity of reefs,” said Kistel. “We’re going to show underwater airplanes. We’re going to show underwater ships and underwater natural reefs like ledges and coral reefs.”

    The television special will also highlight the group’s conservation efforts.

    “We’re the roadside cleaners for the city of Jacksonville, but we’re underwater,” said Ed Kalakauskis, TISIRI diver.

    TISIRI and other divers spend a lot of time maintaining the reefs they create. They said a lot of fishing line and other trash gets tangled on the reefs, threatening some of the species.

    “Things get dropped off their boats,” said Kalakauskis. “I mean fishing reel, spear guns you name it. Beer cans, bottles.”

    Photo Gallery: Underwater secrets revealed

    Kistel said TISIRI has kicked off a KickStarter campaign in hopes of raising about $35,000 for production costs.

    He said the group is aiming for a premiere date in December.

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