Sunday, July 24, 2011

100th Scuba Dive Video Milestone

Friday, July 15, 2011

Final Reef Dive in Fort Lauderdale

All good things must come to an end. I guess I shouldn't say that. Vacations never end, they just change locations. Or, something like that. Anyway, this was the last dive that I got in and it was a reef dive. I will start out with the last first because it was the best of all the dives.

Huge Sea Turtle. I chased this sea turtle for quite some time. As you will see in the video, I was holding the dive flag when he first showed up, so I was bobbing up and down with the flag in the waves for the first minute. I think Pastor Mike or Michelle took the flag about a minute or so into the video, I really don't know who as all I could see was this huge sea turtle. After that, the video settles down to my usual steadiness. It was a big as a coffee table and very old as it had barnacles on its back.

Back to the beginning, though. When we first got to depth, I shined my light under this coral and found this huge lobster

This was not good. This is a lion fish. They are invading everywhere. I've read they are vicious, will attack and eat anything, and chew up the coral. Diving groups organize lion fish kill events, but you must know how to do this and be careful as their spikes contain deadly poison. I've read they are good eating, though.

Just a nice shot of a fishflow

And, another big lobster

Finally, a big angel fish grazing
Little Surprise Waiting for Us at the Surface

There we were hanging on the ascent rope for our safety stop at 15 after the Tracy Wreck Dive and I see this swimming around us. First, I thought it was a baby shark, but I thought that it sure has a flat head. When we were on the boat and heading to the next dive site, one of the divers said it was a remora. These fish travel around with sharks feeding on their leftovers. Looks like it was trying to find a shark.

The Wreck of the Tracy

The Tracy was sunk in 1998 in 70 feet of water. It was a very enjoyable dive. Water was warm, visibility was good, and I always like exploring wrecks. I just think they are interesting.

Here we are arriving at the wreck

Here we are exploring the inside stern end

And, swimming around the outside. Amazing number of fish

Even took a look under the boat

Here's the bridge

Time to go

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The SS Copenhagen Wreck Dive Video

Here I am among the wreckage

The Steam Ship Copenhagen ran aground on the reef off Pompano. I understand that for years it was visible above water and the Navy torpedoed it during World War II so as not to allow enemy subs to hide behind it. As you can see, it was a mess down there with debris strewn anywhere.

Fort Lauderdale First Reef Dive Video Clips

My Dive Buddies Michelle, Pastor Mike, and Sherry

Sea Turtle Swims By

A couple of big angel fish

Big Angel Fish

Monday, July 11, 2011

My First Fort Lauderdale Shore Dive Experience

I wanted to post about the first dive of the vacation, so here goes.

Elaine and I were in Fort Lauderdale four years ago and I did boat diving everyday. Everyday, the water was a smooth as glass and visibility was so crystal clear you could see Mars. As boat diving is expensive, I looked into shore diving on the Scuba Board and contacted Steve at Gold Coast Scuba Diving on Commercial Avenue in Lauderdale by the Sea. Steve took good care of me and got me on their internet meet-up system. I hooked up with local divers Bill, Heather, Debbie, Rae, Sue, and Roy. Paige drove two hours to join us, too. We all met up at the dive shop, got my air tank and weights, and went to Datura Avenue to walk in off the beach.

Well, almost. To get to the beach, Roy and I parked two blocks away, put our dive gear on, and, in 90 degree heat, thirty-five pound tank on my back, twelve pounds of weight on my belt, and a three mil wetsuit, walked over to the beach meet up place. Good thing I have been running 2.5 miles four or five days a week.

The water was very rough from recent storms and we had to swim about a hundred or so yards out to drop down to a fifteen foot reef. Waves slammed into me on the way out and I started thinking just how bad do I want to do this? This is not at all like what I experienced here four years ago. Nonetheless, I was here and I figured the experience would do me good, so I pressed on. I was somewhat winded when we got to the "Swiss Cheese" which is what the reef looks like. I figured things would be better underwater with not having to fight the waves, so down we went.

It took me about half the dive to finally settle down, relax, and get into it. This was about the same time a small stingray went past me. We saw other fish and reef life, but not much do to the rough conditions. Roy and I were teamed with Bill and Heather, who have dove this money times, so they showed us around. Our max depth was twenty feet. Here is another photo that Bill took with his underwater camera:

Walking out after the dive was rough, too, as a big wave hit me and off came my left fin. I immediately looked down, but the water was too stirred up from the wave action and I did not see it. By the way, if a grey Cressi fin washes up on shore, it's mine.

Back at the dive shop with everyone, we talked about the experience. It was one of the most tiring dives that I had, but once I got going, I was glad that I did it. Wouldn't you know, the last few days of the week, the water calmed down immensely.

P.S. I bought a new pair of fins off Steve at the dive shop. He gave me a good price. I told you above, he took good care of me.

P.P.S. Bill said later they considered calling the dive due to the rough conditions, but since Paige and I came all this way, they thought they would give it a go. That's okay, Bill, really I'm glad you did. Any day in the ocean at Fort Lauderdale is still warmer than our cold water quarries in Northwest Ohio. I suppose it's all relative. Just sort of glad you told me after the dive and not before.

P.P.P.S. For once, I am really glad that I did not take my camera gear on the dive with me. I probably would have lost that, too. Thanks for the photos, Bill.
Turtle Beach

Beach Place and Restaurants

Fort Lauderdale Vacation Video

The Food Court at the Galleria Mall
This video starts off like we are in some really high class fancy restaurant, but as I pan around, you see that it is the most upscale food court we were ever in at the most upscale mall we have ever been.

Just a typical guy washing off his parrot, Dudley, at Lauderdale by the Sea. Nothing unusual to see here

4th of July Videos

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Saying Good Bye to Fort Lauderdale

Scarface Movie Location

I found this interesting. This was in South Beach and this stairwell was used for a shooting location for the Al Pacino Scarface movie or so the plaque says.

Miami South Beach Trip

Elaine and I drove down to Miami to say we did the South Beach Experience. It was an experience. This is a trendy shopping, eating, and drinking area, especially suited for young people. It was very busy and you could feel the energy.

Fort Lauderdale Photos

We arrived July 2nd and came home July 9th. The 4th of July was Monday and they had a spectacular fireworks show. I will have more of that when I post the videos.
This store was down by Beach Place, which a few blocks south of the Hilton. It is a tourist shopping and dining area. We were down here almost everynight as people walk up and own the street eating and drinking and bands are playing.

While down this way, they had a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. that we ate at. The motif was right out of the Forest Gump movie. The food was very good.
Fort Lauderdale Vacation

Summer vacation finally arrived for Elaine and me and we went to Fort Lauderdale where we vacationed four years ago. Here I am on the AirTran jet waiting to take off from Akron Canton Airport.
Here is our first view out the balcony of our room. What a gorgeous sight.
We stayed at the Hilton Beach Resort, right across from the beach on A1A. There are so many wonderful eating places everywhere you go. Here we are the second night eating at Athena by the Sea in Lauderdale by the Sea
Here we are eating at Burgerfy, which is in Lauderdale by the Sea and had great burgers when you just gotta have a burger appetite.