(May 24, 2011)


These pictures are from a 2-dive charter that Kordel, Toby, Caleb, and Benji did while in Florida. On the first dive we visited a location where pieces of a demolished bridge were dumped into the water. You could still make out the shape of guard rails and sidewalks in some places. The dive shop required Benji to be with an instructor-lead group, while Toby, Caleb, and I were paired up with Mark (a diver who was not in the beginner group who did not have a buddy). The intent was to go down in two groups: one group of four and one of about eight. However, visibility was very bad and staying together was very difficult. We ended up losing Mark and could not find the anchor line to ascend, so the three of us did a free ascent. It was much harder than an anchor-line ascent, and I was afraid we would come up 100 yards down current from the boat but actually came up about 10 feet from the stern.

On the second dive we visited the Miss Louise (a 95' intercostal push-tug sunk as an artificial reef about 1 mile offshore). As with the first dive, the dive shop required Benji to be with an instructor-lead group, while Toby, Caleb, and I were paired up with Mark (a diver who was not in the beginner group who did not have a buddy). The intent was to go down in two groups: one group of four and one of about eight. However, as with the first dive, visibility was very bad and staying together was very difficult. When I got to the bottom I could not find Toby and Mark so they stayed together for the duration of the dive and Caleb and I went off by ourselves. Despite the visibility, the dive was very fun. The wreck was covered by swarms of small fish. I got some good pictures and videos of us swimming through them (my new camera housing allows me to switch between pictures and video -- yay!). I did not keep close enough tabs on Caleb's air. He signaled me when he was at 500 PSI and we were still a hard swim to the anchor line. We ended up buddy breathing while doing a 3-minute safety stop at 15' to keep his tank from going under 200 PSI. In the future we'll need to do better at planning in advance how often to check eachother's air and when to start heading back.

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