Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Diving in the Florida Keys

Spent the weekend diving and hunting in the Florida Keys. This being the opening of lobster season it was quite hectic but still a fun little trip. I went out with Tildens Dive Center on Marathon for a hunting trip and  reef sightseeing trip. This was a pretty nice boat of 30 feet and we had 18 people onboard.
The diving was only average due to poor viz which I'm told can change hourly. We went out to a spot near the lighthouse called lobsters reef which lived up to its name. While I was properly equipped I failed to grab a single lobster. The one I did get my hands on broke free and made for its hide. Sans Souci. I was a little disappointed that it wasn't a dive only trip but my time was limited to the weekend and many of the trips were full.
 On the dive highlights included many lobster, jellies, fans, and assorted reef fish. It was rather shallow (avg was about 12ft, with visibility of about 8-10ft, improving over the course of the dive). Dive times were limited by Tildens to 55min probably because of the snorkelers. At the end of the dive I was typically on the boat with 1000 to 1400 psi which means an unrestricted would have been significantly longer. The max depth We encounters on these dives was 22ft while fighting with an unfriendly crustacean entree.
Other sights i would like to hit in this area would be the wreck of the Thunderbolt and the NOAA research center. The Wiki for the NOAA center has some great pictures and looks like it would be interesting to explore and photograph. Perhaps one day they will accept visitors. :)

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