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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, this is Bill.

It was fun diving with you. Check your minor addition and I sent a couple of photos from the dive.

Make sure to give us a shout next time you're down this way!