Sunday, June 21, 2009

Welcome back and Congrats!

As I've blogged about before and will again, I am very fortunate to be able to dive with the type and kind of people who come diving with me. Pictured above is one family who has dove with me since 2003, missing only 2007. Paige, Susie, Jerry and Tanner.

Back in 2003, I did a Discover Scuba Diving experience with young Paige, and her father, Jerry, who was already certified joined in. Susie even gave it a try at the last minute. Tanner was too young but engaged himself snorkeling.

Since then the family has been back, and even bringing the in-laws, to vacation and scuba dive in Key Largo. Paige went on to become a certified diver with me and now is nearly 17 and a good little scuba diver. She even dove the Spiegel Grove on her last trip here a couple weeks ago! This trip, Tanner now being old enough, along with his mother, Susie, completed their Open Water Diver course with me. They did their class and pool training back home and the check-out dives with me.

Congratulations, Susie and Tanner on becoming scuba divers! And thank you Jerry, Susie, Paige and Tanner, for coming and sharing your vacation with me. Hope to see you all back here next year.


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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lionfish in Key Largo

On June 9th I was on the dock waiting to board the dive boat with an underwater photography student and a friend of mine, Capt. Mark, who owns Scuba-Do Dive charters ( walked by carrying a 5 gallon white bucket with 'something' in it. Out of curiosity I wandered over to see what was in the bucket.

Pictured above is what Mark was carrying and it is a photograph of Lionfish. As most of you probably already know, these fish are not indigenous to the Florida Keys, yet this fish was captured on one of our most popular dive sites, the wreck of the 'Benwood' which rests a few miles off shore of Key Largo.

These fish have been seen in the waters offshore of the East coast of Florida and up into the offshore waters of the Carolinas and for some time now. Recently they have become very prolific in the Bahamas. Two friends of mine were diving in the Bahamas and saw these fish on every dive!

It has only been the past few months that these fish have been sighted in our waters, in the Key Largo area. This is the fourth one that I have heard of although there could have been others.

The Lionfish has no natural predators in our waters and is evidently a voracious feeder and eater of small fish. Without any predators and having such a huge appetite, the Lionfish has the potential to upset our ecosystems balance.

Because of this we have been asked to report any sightings we have of the Lionfish and to R.E.E.F. and they in turn then attempt a capture.

They are a very ornate fish. Very photogenic, even in a 5 gallon bucket. Prior to this, my last attempt to photograph one was in Maui in 1992. I failed miserably at that attempt because I had not loaded my camera with film. (big but embarrassed, grin!)

Be interesting to see how many more of the Lionfish we encounter in the coming months.


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Great way to improve your SCUBA:

Last fall I happened to take a snapshot of a newly trained scuba diver, Susanne. I emailed it to her and low and behold discovered she had an interest in photography and also in improving her scuba.

So, she returned to Key Largo recently and engaged in a three day underwater photography course with me and stayed on for a couple extra days. Her concern was whether she was able enough of a scuba diver to engage in underwater photography. My suggestion to her was that engaging in underwater photography would improve her scuba.

This is because, in part, an underwater photographer oftentimes has to position themself and use buoyancy control to make a capture. In her learning about underwater photography she indeed improved her scuba diving.

Congrats Susanne (pictured above) with and in both your diving and your underwater photography. Paradoxically, both of which improved during your stay.


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Monday, June 8, 2009

High Season for Diving!

Our high season for scuba diving and underwater photography in the Florida Keys has arrived! And along with it the return of a few of my regular scuba diving and underwater photography students and clients!
Pictured above are James and Jill and Jame's dad in the background, Steve. These 'guyz' were back in Key Largo diving and doing underwater photography for five days in late May. We had wonderfull conditions with clear water, calm seas and warming water temperatures.
The next photograph is of another one of my 'guyz', Rob, who coincidentally joined us for a couple days to test out his new underewater camera system, a Nikon D90 and housed in an Ikelite housing. Rob is on his way to Sulawasi and wanted to make sure his new system was up and running before going that far. I think Rob should take me along just to be on the safe side, but, that is another story!
I'm trying to get into a routine to blog once a week or so, but, our high season is upon us and I am far behind in that goal!
I guess , deep down inside, I would rather dive than blog but am doing my best to do both.
The best time of year to dive in Key Largo, in my view is during the months of May thru the month of September. This is because we usually have the best weather for scuba diving. Warming water temps, calm(er) seas and conditions, and great visibility, approaching and averaging 80 to 100 ft.
My favorite month for scuba diving anywhere is the month of May. Because, to me, the ocean seems to come alive with life and action. So, this past month that is what I've been doing. Hope to see many more of you 'guyz' in the coming months.
Because, high season for Scuba Diving is here!
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