I was lucky enough to go out diving with the folks from The Florida Aquarium yesterday. They are working on putting together a program offering guided tours of a couple of spots off of the coast of St. Petersburg.First dive was on the wreck called The Debbie Ann. I was told the wreck is not well known. The info I could find by Google was slim to none. Like everyone else that goes offshore they like to keep their number secret.....They are trying out using the Buddy Phones for divers on the tours with the DM/Tour Guide using a full face mask to narrate and point out things. Mine did not work so I was only able to enjoy the sounds of the ocean....
Seas were a bit rough and it started to rain so I took a shot of myself while waiting on the tag line for the other divers to get in the water.
Wreck is in approx 45' of water and WOW was it full of marine life!!!! Unfortunately shortly after I took a short video of the huge turtle on the wreck my camera decided to take on water.....Water temp was 87 so the visibility was only about 20' but in the winter months I'd expect it around 60' or so being this far out.
I like to be the first one in and last one out and my normal plan did not fail me on this dive either. As I came to the wheel house there was a Jewfish that was all of 5' with a girth to match. I had to look twice to believe that I was not seeing a mirage....This was the largest one I have ever seen on this side of Florida. I frantically tried to call over the other divers before he left.....Most of them later said they saw it come out and swim just out of view while we were there.
I know reading stories about diving when there are no pictures is really really boring so I'll wrap this dive up. Every fish I can name that is common in the gulf was here by the dozens and in some cases the hundreds! This is by far the best dive I have ever done off the coast in my area. I would do it again any chance I got and can't wait to go back......
Before and after the dive I had a long wait on the tag line and a bit of a surface swim in choppy water.....The new Argonaut DSV performed flawlessly.
The next dive was on the remains of the ship USS Narcissus built in 1863. It is an archaeological preserve, still owned by the Navy and considered a Military grave site. In my opinion the guided tour with the ability to hear underwater would be a benefit since only scattered remains of the ship are here and it would help along a dive that is in 15' of water remain interesting. CLICK HERE for more on the Narcissus.