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I went diving in Crystal River and West Palm Beach this weekend.
The Crystal River dive was by the 3 sisters. Cold! Air temp was 41 degrees F. I wore a coat and sweatpants on the trip out.
Tons of manatees. A rather friendly juvenile kept grabbing my legs with his flippers and gumming my ankles. He finally managed to wedge himself in between my legs and carry me around for a bit. Really quite fun.
An extremely large adult came by a few times so I could rub his belly.
Manatees are really gentle, wonderful creatures and I highly recommend diving them. Our boat captain (each group rents a boat and provides their own captain) managed to run us aground a few times. Oh, the fun we had with that! In her defense, the steering was ridiculously tight and the tide was out.
We also dived a small cavern/swim through. The sight of that many OW divers and snorkels in a cavern gave me the willies and I turned the dive relatively quickly. My HID light really lit things up in comparison to the little lights used by the other divers. My buddy and I were really mismatched. 30 minutes down, I used 1400 PSI and he used 2500 PSI! Yikes! I made sure to check his pressure every time I could. Really gave me a bad feeling in the cavern. Still we got onto the boat with 500PSI, so it ended fairly well.
My West Palm trip with Abernathy's Scuba Adventures went very well. A bicyclist managed to ram my car at the Blue Heron turn off. Put a huge dent in the rear bumper! The officer wrote the bicyclist a ticket. Not the best start for the day. I was happy that he was not badly injured.
The waves were 4'-6'. The Triptone worked well. We were aboard the Infatuation with Capt. Mike. He gave us great drops! Right on the money every time. The crew was also very good.
Lots of interesting equipment problems. My buddy had borrowed his father's reg, and the power inflator line refused to attach. Took a bit of lube and muscle to get it working.
I managed to not attach my power inflator line. Doh! I air shared off of my buddy and attached it properly when we got to the bottom . Dumb mistake.
We dove on the Princess Anne. About 50' of vis. Saw the resident goliath grouper and some other fish. Penetrated the wreck a bit. The ship is falling apart, so we were not that aggressive. Another diver reported seeing 6 bull sharks go overhead. I was too busy looking at the wreck. Shoot! Good dive.
Got a little sick during the surface interval. The Triptone apparently had worn off. Took some more, and the capt. took us into the ICW for the surface interval. We found some manatees, and my buddy snorkled out to them and took some photos.
We then dove on two wrecks that were very close together. Don't know the name of the site. The ship appeared to be a bulk carrier of some sort. Anyway, we penetrated the wheel house and had a good time. About 20' of vis, so no pictures.
My Halcyon Pro 6 w/10w HID worked really well. I love the high power of HID lights. Great for photography work. While I was rinsing the unit, I managed to drop the light head. Sigh, HID bulbs don't like drops. A $100 mistake. Oh well, live and learn!
I have attached the light to my BP with some quick releases. Gives me better trim than when it is on my belt. I am still able to remove it via the releases. I use a 3# trim weight on the other side for balance. Works really well and I no longer use a weight belt. Yay!
Had a great time. Abernathy's operation is really good and I've never had a bad experience with them.
Edit: Fixed 2 spelling errors. Doh!
Last edited by pdoege; December 10th, 2002 at 01:40 PM.
Great trip report. I would imagine that the two wrecks you went to last were Sasha and her two sisters. Actually there are three of those boats lying side by side depending on the current you can cross over to the third one. I have dove them twice last summer, they are alot of fun when the current is not moving at a ripping along speed. Most of the divers on our trip only made it on to two of them on one dive. My group did go to all three though.
The divecon gave us the option of seeing all 3. With the relatively low vis and a medium strength current, we hung out on the first wreck.
Both of the crewmembers were really good. I was particularly impressed with Steve. He made a point out of checking up on each of the divers on the Princess Anne. He even poked his head down into the hold to make sure that my buddy and I were Ok during our penetration.
Not too often that I see a crewmember with steel tanks and BP! Great bouancy control too.
They did a really good job.
PS. The shop that arranged the manatee tour was NorthWest Divers. They are a smallish shop near UCF in Orlando. I always have fun diving with them.