APOLOGIES

I’m sorry for posting late today.  Some of you have informed me that not being able to read my blog while enjoying your morning coffee ruins your day.  Second, I apologize for typos or meaningless sentences.  I confess to blogging under the influence of NyQuil®.

LOCAL WEATHER

I have been paying too much attention to the potential tropical weather hot-bed in the SW Caribbean.  In the meantime, we had a tropical wave sneak up on us from the Atlantic side.  It’s nothing serious, but we have 20 knot winds from the south this morning.  The weather is not impossible for the divers but the captains will have to limit operations to reefs to our east and to reefs closer to shore than we enjoyed yesterday.  The sailors will be under reduced sails.

PROGRAM

On our way out yesterday there was a waterspout near the Alligator Reef lighthouse.  We were probably 6 miles away from it and could not get any photos.  I was driving BSA Explorer with three Scuba Adventure crews on board.  Captain Bert Hubby was directly behind us driving BSA Burglar with the Scuba Certification crew aboard.  We continued generally towards the waterspout and watched it dissipate and suck back into the clouds.

I took my divers to a spur and groove reef named Sharks.  Sharks is deeper than most of our sites and spur and groove formations can be disorienting and challenging to navigate.  So I asked the divemasters to keep their crews together and everyone did great.  Because of the depth, air was consumed quicker than usual and a 3 minute safety stop at 15 was imposed (by me, not the dive tables).  For our second dive we moved to Labyrinth.  This is a patch reef, a little shallower than Sharks with abundant fish life.  It was an even bigger hit than Sharks.  Then we moved to a shallower site for lunch, snorkeling, swimming and goofing off.  I chose a Florida Undersea Archeological Park that lies near Indian Key.  The San Pedro sank here in1733 as part of a Spanish Silver Fleet.  The site was surveyed and artifacts removed years ago.  But the cannons and anchor were replicated and placed back in the original positions.

After a full day on the water we headed back to the Florida Sea Base and reloaded the boat for the night dive.  After flags and dinner, we departed the dock oat 19:10 (7:10pm) for a night dive on Alligator Reef.  About 2 miles out from the lighthouse, another HUGE waterspout descended from the clouds, about a mile or two south of the lighthouse, maybe three miles from us.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

If you click on the image, I think you will be able to see the Alligator Reef lighthouse to the right of the waterspout.  If you are unfamiliar with this weather phenomona do a search on this site for an explanation.  There was excitement and some concern among the staff and participants, but we kept a safe distance,  I maneuvered the vessel slowly to the SW as the storm tracked to the NE.  When the spout dissipated I made way for our dive site where the participants enjoyed a great night dive that included two large turtles.  We returned to the Florida Sea Base dock around 22:05 (10:05pm).

Captain Ed Miller returned to duty this morning to take command of BSA Explorer.  I am taking some time off this morning.  I appreciate Scuba Commissioner Captain Alex Bergstedt covering for me.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape

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