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I'll going to Gulf Shores in late May and was wondering if anyone could recommend a good dive operator or shop? I've never dove in the Gulf before. I'm mainly a California drysuit diver. Any tips or advice about Gulf diving would be appreciated!
Water is in the low '70s, like 72-73º. I've been diving with just a 0.5mm suit the last few weeks in shallow water. Most of my buddies are still dawning 3mm, I do the same if I'm diving past 30'.
Underwater Works in Daphne, AL, about 15min-20min north of Gulf Shores has a great staff and are constantly running trips out now that they got their boat fixed. Chas Broughton is the owner, great guy. This is also where I got certified. 251-928-5550 I believe their shop hours are between 10am-6pm CST.
DownUnder has some pretty cool guys as well. They are kind of tight-lipped about the locations of alot of the local diving spots though - can't say I blame them I suppose.
There are a few options for beach dives as well, including a 200' whiskey runner which sunk about 150 yards off the beach in front of whats now Bahama Bobs - good food, cold beer I dive this site almost weekly. Flounder are showing up quite a bit lately. Lots of Sheephead as well.
If you catch the tides at the right time you can dive the jeddies off of Alabama Point, bring a spear and grab you some Flounder, Grouper, Sheephead, and Red Snapper.
If you go out towards west beach, there is another pass there with jeddies along the west seawall that you can snorkel and get a few Flounder and Sheephead.
Get a boat and go further west for a paddleboat, I've yet to find it to be honest, only about 100' off the beach but there is nowhere to park that far west... nothing public atleast.
Off the beaches vis at the moment is poor, 5-10'. If things keep as calm as they are now, we'll probably be back to the 15-30'+ we were enjoying weekend before last and the weeks before... Couple miles off and I would expect 25-30ish at the very least and much better by this weekend if things stay the way they are - 40-60' or better.
Within 3 miles of Perdio pass is a barge and lots of bridge rubble. This is where chartering a boat is going to come into handy.
There are actually quite a few barges that have been sunk in the area, lots of bridge rubble, cars, piers, jeddies, ect that can be dove by boat or even off the beach.