The Raytheon Easy Divers
SCUBA Club took a trip to Florida City in March.
Chris, Bob, and Greg enjoyed three days of excellent
diving off of Chris' boat. Plentiful lobsters,
lots of interesting marine life, good visibility, and
warm water temperatures thanks to the proximity of the
gulf stream are a combination
that makes the area hard to beat for diving, especially
during the Winter months.
Valerie participated in a
concert at our local performing arts center in March.
The show had a Caribbean theme and was she was quite
thankful to have the opportunity to sing two solos, one
with the Ruth Eckerd teen choir and a second piece from
her musical theater class.
We took our boat down to Key
Largo this summer to do some diving and snorkeling. It
was great being able to set our own schedule for getting out
on the water vs. being tied to the departure and return
times dictated by a dive charter. Our friends Greg,
Valerie, and their daughter Lindsey joined us for the first
few days. It's always more fun to enjoy such good
times with friends. In retrospect, I now realize that
I need to enlist someone else to get some topside pictures.
With me (Chris) driving/cleaning the boat I didn't have much
time or energy to take any pictures above the water!
The Raytheon SCUBA club made a
trip out to the Sheridan in July. We've been trying to
make it out to this wreck for quite some time, but always
seem to run into trouble. The planets finally aligned
and we made it out. The Sheridan is a 180-ft tug that
sits upright in about 80 feet of water. The wreck is
home to lots of barracuda, a few Jewfish, and strangely
enough, a rather large population of arrow crabs.
Chris didn't bring his camera on the wreck so you'll have to
take my word for it that we were actually there:) We did our
second dive at Mastodon Tabletop, a circular ledge about 250 feet in
diameter in about 65 feet of water. Here we saw more Jewfish, plenty
of grouper, and a Hawksbill Sea Turtle. The camera made it on the
second dive, so take a look.
In August, we went on a cruise to
the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands. Our ship was named
the 'Mariner of the Seas' and is
part of the Royal Caribbean fleet. We sailed out of Cape Canaveral
Coco Cay (a private island in the Bahamas), then to St. Thomas, then St. Marten, and
finished with two full days at sea for the return trip. The ship was gorgeous and
the scenery spectacular. Amanda and Valerie each brought a friend
along, which not only made the trip extra special for them, but it kept the
kids out of Chris and Sue's hair for much of the trip☺.
Thanks to both Christina and Erin for helping us to make
some fantastic memories.
After three weeks of
cancellations due to wind, rain, tropical storms and other
forms of foul weather we finally got to go diving on
October 6th. With 2 - 4 foot seas and a 10 to 15 knot
wind from the East, it was still a bumpy ride, but
definitely doable without too much discomfort. Our
first dive was on a site we affectionately refer to as
'Greg's Crack'. It's part of the 'Masthead Ledge'
formation, which runs North-South about 12 nm off of
Clearwater Beach. This particular spot has a fissure
(the crack) that runs perpendicular to the ledge where we
have had especially good luck finding good fish. On
this trip, we also spotted several Stone Crab tucked up
under the ledge. For our second dive we went to
Clearwater Reef. There we saw some Hogfish, a couple
Jewfish, and some Snook.
In late October, the Raytheon SCUBA club did
some diving and fishing on Veterans Reef and a nearby ledge. With a 15
knot wind, overcast skies and scattered showers it wasn't exactly a chamber
of commerce day, but we made the best of it and still had a great time.
Veterans Reef is an artificial reef dedicated to the brave men and women who
defend our country. The site is home to three large steel-hulled
barges (each over 100 feet long), 300 tons of native Florida limestone, and
some prefabricated fish attracting devices (essentially concrete pyramids).
Depth is around 45 feet. The nearby Masthead Ledge is what remains of
a prehistoric Florida coastline. The portion of the ledge we dove had
a max. depth of about 55 feet with a 4 - 6 foot profile and plenty of fish
life. Water temperature was about 82 degrees at both sites.
Chris, Tony, and Bob took Bob's
boat out of Sarasota in early December and headed out to M5
reef and Cuda Hole. The water temperature was warm at
an incredible 70 degrees. We saw 4 Goliath Grouper and
a large stingray, and even spotted a Lobster (which is
unusual for this part of the Gulf).