Introducing Mike and Frank Vitori, two mosaic tile specialists with a love for all things aquatic. With over 15 years in the swimming pool tile industry and a deep connection to the ocean - from surfing, boating, and diving, to ocean conservation their love of creating beautiful outdoor oases is rooted deep in the water.
Inspired by the ocean, their dream is to bring an aquatic oasis to every home while also giving back and supporting this valuable ecosystem.
As one of our corporate sponsors, AquaBlu Mosaics helps support our mission to restore Florida's Coral Reef. Their support helps us move our mission forward each day, and make a positive impact for our marine ecosystem.
Continue reading to learn more about Frank's personal connection to coral reefs!
What is your earliest memory of the ocean?
Although I cannot pinpoint an exact age, I’ve always felt a very strong connection to the ocean. Growing up on the south shore of Long Island, I can recall playing “tag” with ocean waves as they crashed along the shoreline of Jones Beach, as well as spending hours searching through tide pools for aquatic life. The ocean has always been a big part of my family’s life.
What is your favorite marine creature?
Coral is certainly up there, but I’d have to say the whale shark is my favorite. I’ve had the pleasure of being able to free dive with this magnificent animal off of Isla Mujeres, Mexico a few years back. This was without a doubt one of the most memorable experiences of my lifetime. I dove down and stared up as this gentle giant slowly cruised just above me. At that moment I truly appreciated the pure size, grace and peacefulness of this creature. It was quite humbling.
Frank swims alongside the largest fish in the ocean, a gentle giant, the whale shark. ©Frank Vitori AquaBlu Mosaics
Have you experienced a healthy coral reef ecosystem?
The healthiest reef system I’ve experienced was in the Philippines. We certainly took the road less traveled to get to our destination, but it was worth it and we were rewarded with a pristine reef system teeming with life. It was the most bio-diverse ecosystem I have ever seen, and was completely untouched by tourism. The colors and formations were absolutely incredible. Even after diving for years in the Caribbean and Florida Keys, this was like exploring an entirely new world. I was absolutely awestruck.
Have you seen a badly degraded reef system?
Yes. For years we would visit a favorite resort off the east coast of Puerto Rico, and loved to free dive its small, private beach called Palomino Island. I clearly remember my very first dive, and my last. It's a story of excitement and wonder, that has now faded to sadness and anger. I’ve witnessed first-hand the gradual destruction and degradation of a once-thriving reef system to a crumbled, barren wasteland. We no longer visit this resort.
Mike and Frank hover above a clownfish swimming through and anemone ©Frank Vitori AquaBlu Mosaics
What concerns or scares you the most about climate change?
For me the most hurtful reality is the destruction of our coral reefs. Not only because of the pure beauty and enjoyment we receive from this wondrous world, but also because of the direct correlation and importance is has in maintaining balance for life on our planet. Climate change is a real thing, and for those unaware of its impact I challenge them to watch David Attenborough’s witness statement, "A Life on This Planet” and the documentary "Chasing Coral”.
Why do you, personally, care about coral reefs?
For me, exploring coral reefs - whether it be scuba diving or free diving - is my happy place. Beneath the water's surface all of life’s worries and distractions seem to suddenly disappear. A feeling of serenity takes over and you are now suddenly part of a whole new world full of beauty and wonder. It is a precious gift that future generations sadly may only be able to experience through photographs and videos of the past. It’s a very disheartening thing to come to terms with.
Why is protecting and restoring coral reefs relevant to your brand?
By creating AquaBlu Mosaics we’ve made it possible to combine our area of expertise in the swimming pool industry with our passion for the ocean. All of the products offered for sale on AquaBluMosaics.com, from mosaic tile to glass pool tile, are ocean-inspired and give our customers the ability to bring a piece of the ocean into their homes.
With our swimming pool mosaics, customers can create breathtaking underwater scenes with a wide range of pool tile designs. Our mosaic pool tile artwork ranges from colorful coral reefs, playful dolphins, and charming sea turtles to life-like sharks, whales, and even mermaids.
We also carry over 2,000 porcelain and glass mosaic tile and pool waterline tile products that follow an ocean-inspired color palette. While our materials are made specifically for swimming pools and wet applications, they can also certainly be used for home interiors and commercial spaces. Think “coastal luxury”, and with AquaBlu’s large selection of porcelain and glass tile mosaics, we want to bring an aquatic oasis to every home while also giving back and supporting this valuable ecosystem. With every purchase made, a portion of the proceeds is donated to ocean conservation efforts.
AquaBlu Mosaics offers designs which bring the beauty of marine ecosystems to your backyard ©AquaBlu Mosaics
Why should the average person care about coral reefs?
Simply put… the coral reef is one of earth’s most precious gifts and it is dying! Not only is it one of the most beautiful places that hopefully everyone can experience at least once in their lifetime, but it also plays a vital role in the overall balance of the functioning of our planet.
The destruction of this ecosystem certainly will have consequences on multiple levels. This includes the extinction of many marine species that live within this habitat, a decline in the population of fish as a food source, the destruction of coastlines that depend on the barrier reefs for protection, as well as other economic impacts such to the tourism industry. It’s a very real, and a very scary thing.
In your opinion, what are some of the most powerful tools at our disposal that we can apply to the mission to save coral reefs?
Media and Technology in my opinion are the two most powerful tools to impact individuals, organizations and governing bodies in taking the steps toward positive change on a global scale. We are all now wirelessly connected and can share information instantly from our cell phones and by the use and power of social media.
We need passionate individuals, film makers, and organizations like Coral Restoration Foundation™ to continually put out engaging, captivating and educational material for the rest of the world to see and share. This mission for saving our reefs must go viral. Every individual on earth needs to be in the know.
What do you think are some of the easiest ways that the average person can join the mission to save coral reefs from extinction?
I personally believe that awareness is the number one chance our coral reefs have for survival. The easiest thing a person can do is help spread this awareness by following organizations such as Coral Restoration Foundation™ and other like-minded organizations, and share that content with friends and family. Also share your own personal content and experiences that demonstrate the positive impact that you have made for our coral reefs.
These simple things can include:
Donating to nonprofit organizations that are taking fight in the protection and replanting of our coral reefs
Participating in beach cleanups
Choosing sustainable seafood over wild-caught.
Not stepping or touching reefs while diving or snorkeling, and reef-friendly sunscreen
Do you think there is hope for our coral reefs? Why? I do have hope for our coral reefs for two reasons.
1) I believe in the goodness of people. Over the years I have witnessed first-hand a much greater global effort in the spread of awareness, and as a direct result have seen more and more individuals, organizations and even companies join in the fight to save our coral reefs. I believe this effort will continue to spread and grow.
2) I believe in adaptation. While it is true that many of our corals will die, it is my hope that a great number of species will adjust to the climatic changes and adapt to survive. This would potentially result in new strains and species of corals that are able to thrive in more acidic and warmer waters.
We are thankful to have passionate ocean stewards supporting our mission!