New Year, Lost Year, and Saba soon

West Palm Beach in the 1960s
Image via Wikipedia

Wow, I can’t believe that 2011 has com and gone.  Seems like yesterday I was writing the “end of year” message for 2010.  Lesson? Life is short people – get out and enjoy it while you are young.  Anyhoo, I figure I will tell you about 2011 from my scuba activity perspective.

It started out with getting the nod to fill in with scuba instruction for The Dive Station because they were short handed. I instructed scuba throughout the Spring and certified about 35 divers.  That was fun and I learned a lot about teaching students.  There were some close calls but all were certified.  Had very fun times teaching and I think I made it fun for the students – even those that were a bit nervous.

My first dive of 2011 was a dive off of Jupiter, Florida looking for and hoping to see Lemon sharks that “allegedly” come there to breed.  It was immortalized in a video by Tim Vann and can be seen here (TimVann1 – his YouTube channel).  Looking back at that video makes me realize what a great day that was.  We had lot’s of friends and a great two dives.  And I want to add a plug for Jupiter Dive Center.  These guys are very well organized and always fun to dive with.  The way I determine fun on a drift dive is having boat captains that understand that we may get scattered and having the talent to deal with it.  The Captains (Tim and Mike) at JDC definitely have this talent.  In the video, Tim saw several sharks.  I saw none on either dive. I also do not count a Nurse Shark as a shark since I consider it somewhere between a true shark and a Ray.

My next dive was off West Palm Beach on the famous Narcosis Dive Charters.  This was in February and just me and Carl went on this.  We were taken to a place called Shark Canyon and low and behold – I saw a shark!  Two actually.  We had made it to the place called the canyon and, while most divers were looking around there, I thought I saw something moving just north, down-current on the reef.  Carl and I headed over to see it and it was a four foot reef shark.  As I approached it started to swim away.  That’s what I figured it would do.  But just when I thought it was going to keep going and disappear it turned and headed right towards me.  My heart jumped a beat but then it did turn and swim off.  As it swam out of visual range (viz was about 30 feet) another much larger shark swam past just at the edge of visibility.  I was glad that one was not as curious as the first because Carl and I realized we were down-current and we were not going to be able to make it back to the main group.  We decided to drift on our own and unfortunately did not see anything more.  Still, diving with Carl is always a blast.

In March I acquired my first dry suit.  It is a used Dive Rite 905 that fits me perfectly.  The price was awesome but unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your point of view) the weather was already turning much warmer.  I did do a try-out dive in the pool at the Dive Station but did not get much use of it until just recently.  On top of the 905, Tim hooked me up with a Pinnacle Black Ice for about 1/3 the retail price.  This was in the Spring and I have still not dove with this suit BUT I WILL SOON.  Look for reviews on My New Gear page soon.

At the end of April I met a girl who dives.  I won’t go into details because I have not asked about posting this info on a blog post and it just seems rude but it does play a role in my remaining dives of 2011.  In May we went to Lake Denton (random video) to practice because I noticed she was over weighted.  She was and I got her down to her proper weighting for her 3mm suit.

The remainder of the summer we dove in Jupiter and West Palm Beach with Carl, Jerry, and Tim and I taught some and we let the days slowly roll by.  It was great fun as the Summer months usually are but the real climax to the Summer was coming on Labor day for our annual Labor Day Dive trip to Key Largo and the Florida Keys Dive Center.  This is a trip organized through The Dive Station and it has been going on each year since 2007.  This year was another great time (I have posted photos from the trip here) as usual. One of the things that was a bit different was that Carl, Mangala and I went to Key West early on Friday before Labor Day Weekend and we dove the Vandenberg.  We chartered off of Captain’s Corner and dove off the Sea Eagle, a boat used in the James Bond film, License to Kill.  I still have to rent that movie just to see the boat.  It was Carl’s and Mangala’s first dive on the Vandenberg and my second.  I dove it in 2009 and it has definitely changed/weathered.  It is a great dive and probably the best for Key West (although I have only dove the Vandenberg in Key West).

The Labor Day Dive weekend was over but I was heading directly (two days later) to Grand Cayman for a week of diving out of the Cobalt Coast resort.  This is a Divetech resort.  I went with a group from the JND Dive Shop out of Palm Bay, Florida.  Jeff and Donna, the owners of JND, are what I classify as really good people.  They are fun, professional, and always organize the best week long trips.  You cannot go wrong by diving with them.  Did I say they were fun? Always fun times – and great people too.  Our time in Grand Cayman was excellent and I will be posting pictures of that trip very soon.

The Fall was not as active.  The shorter days and oncoming holidays, for me, always brings a sense of melancholy.  We did several dives and we had some get-togethers at The Dive Station  and the year ended at Ginnie Springs.

Tim, who works and associates with cave divers at Dayo Scuba invited me to the annual year end, New Years Eve dive at Ginnie Springs. Yes, there are people that actually enjoy putting themselves in underground underwater caves.  Tim drove his RV with his wife and son.  We camped and we dove the springs and we had an amazing dive down the Santa Fe River (video). At New Years Eve, just before midnight we went into Ginnie Springs and celebrated the New Year.  Can’t say what we did at midnight but suffice to say it rivalled the special effects of the movie Avatar.

Well that was my year and I hope this year is even better.  Sunny days to all!

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