Just got back from our July certification trip and although the word is often over used, the only way I can describe it is awesome. We departed with fifteen people on another fun packed weekend. The weather gods were good to us and although it was storming in the panhandle when we left, by the time we got to Vortex Spring the sun was out and it was beautiful. The algae in the spring is still a problem but we managed to get three good dives in with the students and I’m sure it made it a little more challenging for the Advanced students doing compass navigation.
Saturday was beautiful and the seas were calm. There were so many bait fish on the Strength that the wreck was obscured from vision and although the vis was 30 to 40ft. most of the time all you could see was a cloud of swarming fish that would break apart every so often when the Spanish Mackerel attacked them. The next dive was on Span 2 and the baitfish were no where near as dense.
Sunday we went out again and did the Black Bart which is always a good dive. Visibility was about 50ft and there were no Goliath Groupers in sight but we did see Batfish, Toadfish lots of Amberjack, Spanish Mackerel and the biggest nudibranch, a Florida Regal Sea Goddess I have ever seen. Next we did Span 14 and I would have sworn I was diving in the Caribbean. Visibility was easily 80ft. and with the calm seas and abundant marine life it was the highlight of the trip.
We have five new Open Water Divers, Gina Loverde, Carolyn Duleba, Danielle Cloern, Derek Durbon and Brian Prattini. Our new Advanced Divers are Larry and Russell Nicosia. Got to go it’s off to the Exuma Keys on Cat Ppalu this weekend, safe diving.