Imagine your loved one's ashes become part of a natural ecosystem that supports fish and other sea life for years to come.
Here we present a brief overview of the reef process.
Creating the Mold
Molds are set up.
When the concrete truck shows up each family is given a 5 gallon bucket with about 8 inches of wet concrete in the bottom.
The family then mixes their loved ones ashes and the wet concrete in the bucket.
Concrete from the truck is then poured into the mold until it is about 2/3 full.
The family then pours the ashes/concrete mixture out of the bucket into the trucks' concrete shoot as the remainder of the form is poured. The ashes mixed with concrete ends up in a layer as the top 1/3 of the form is poured.
As the concrete dries, the family decorates the top of the form with sea shells, mementos, hand prints or whatever has meaning to them.
When the concrete is firm enough, the mold is pulled.
The Reef Ball
After the reef ball dries for about 1 month the family comes back and they are taken to sea and placed in the water with the family watching from another boat.
As each reef ball is picked up to go into the water, the name of the person whose ashes are entombed in the ball is announced so the family can know and watch as 'their' ball goes into the water.
After all the reef balls are in the water the 'family' boat pulls over the reef ball sight and each family has a dedication ceremony for their loved one. On the way out to the site, the family was given a miniature reef ball to decorate with flowers and that is put in the water at the end of the dedication for their loved one's reef ball.
Site Dedication and Beyond
The entire site is then dedicated and the family boat goes back to the harbor.
Then divers go down to make sure that all of the reef balls are properly positioned on the ocean floor. The brass placks with the deceased's name on it are all oriented so they are facing the same direction.
The family can come back and dive on the site anytime they are in the area and watch the sea life grow on the new ocean habitat that houses their loved ones ashes.
January 15, 2011: Please read this really great interview with Ken & Anya Shortridge from "The Daily Undertaker."