Reef Ranger Team of the Month
Captain Mike Miller was lucky enough to grow up in Florida, spending every week on the water from Crystal River down to the Florida Keys. Over the past 50 years, he has seen a lot of changes both above and below in the oceans. He became a PADI Dive Instructor so he could retire and work in the islands. After returning to the States, he certified a young lady, Heidi Thoricht, in preparation for her live aboard trip to the Galapagos Islands. Afterward, they traveled the world diving together. He proposed to her underwater in St. Croix and a year later they got married underwater in Fiji. Both Heidi and Mike love the water and for three years ran a dive charter which they later sold. Currently, through their company Blue Water Life LLC, they both do a lot of volunteer work trying to help others in the dive community. Heidi is the president of the Sea Bunnies, the first all-female dive club in Florida. Having studied the lionfish invasion problem for many years at DEMA, they now concentrate their efforts toward establishing a market at local seafood restaurants. They competed in the last two St. Pete Guy Harvey Lionfish Safari tournaments, collecting 151 lionfish in the first year. In this year’s tournament, with the addition of two more team members, Alex Fogg and Alan Peirce of the FWC, they brought in 410 of the 884 lionfish turned in that day. This past November, they went out and shot 460 pounds of lionfish, which the Guy Harvey RumFish Grill at the Trade Winds Resort in St. Pete served to their guests. Mike and Heidi’s plans are to make this a monthly event in hopes that other restaurants on the West coast of Florida will do the same.
Number of Divers: 2
Number of Reefs Visited: Many
Number of Lionfish Caught: Thousands!
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