Dive Trip Report to: Florida's Beaches!
Purpose: To Beach Dive for shark's teeth
Dive #1: Sunday, Afternoon Dive. My Dive # 232
A. Dive Boat / Location: Beach Dive - Venice, Florida
Visibility: 6 inches at best
Seas: up to 3 foot!
Water Temp: 94 deg at 20 ft!
Skies: SCBS (Sunny Clear Blue Skies
Air Temp: High 90's and above! HOT!
C. Dive Information:
Depth & Time: 22 ft for 20 min Me: Genesis Nitrox Dive Computer -
Air consumption: Me: 3700 - 2800 lb (120 cu ft)
Current: Mild to the North, Mild surge
Description: Well to quote a Polick's comment - "Wow - Some dive Trip, 5:30 am to 10:45 pm, Wow!!". It was a LONG, HOT day! I left Melbourne at 5:30 am, picking up some fellow divers and headed for Venice Florida - on the other side of the state, just south of Sarasota. We went for the Venice Shark Tooth Festival and to dive the Venice Beach for Shark's Teeth! We arrived at the Festival around 11 am - long drive, detour in the middle of no-man's-land, etc.
We decided to go to the Festival Booths first before the heat was toooo unbearable. At 11 am, it was still very hot, clear sky, bright sun, and the festival was on the cement portion of a close off runway at Venice Airport - it was HOT! The Festival Booths had the same old junk you find at all fests! We had lunch, Grouper and an assortment of other fish products. Then, it was off to the Shark Tooth Tent! A big tent filled with vendors selling all sizes of shark's teeth, necklace's, books, and whatever else faintly related to these 28 million year old teeth!
Well, after an hour of looking at these unbelievable size Million Year Old Shark's Teeth, we decided to head to the beach and Dive! We parked at Sharkie's Pier. It must have just rained as the 1/2 of the sand parking lot was under a foot of water. One Diver saw a small alligator in the water to the side of the parked cars (more on that later)! Well we got out of the Van and started to unpack our gear to a picnic table! Then it hit - millions and millions of Fire Ants! I think we manage to kill a lot of them, but they did get in their bites. We doned our dive suits and boots ASAP to help ward off their bites. The surf was only 100 ft away, which was good, because it was at least 100 degrees out in the sun! The surf was running 1-2 ft seas. The Venice Beach sand is very course and does not stick to you like the east coast sand.
At least one diver had some problems getting in due to the waves. The water was warm and dirty! We swam out past the end of Sharky's 750 foot Pier by about 200 ft. A quick dive to the bottom at 20 ft showed vis to be Zero! I couldn't read my depth gauge held in front of my mask! We decided to swim another couple of hundred feet out. This time, we went down feet first - in case there was something bad on the bottom that we couldn't see. Then layed on the bottom on our stomach and Vis was about 6 inches - for a range of 6 inches you could see what was on the bottom. For about a foot to a foot and a half, you could get an idea of what was on the bottom! There was no way you could keep an eye on your dive partner, so we agreed to come every so often. The bottom was smooth sand, lots of small shells, some pea size black stones, some clam-shell covered urchens (thank goodness they were covered) and occasionally a shark tooth. I managed to get lots of sand dollars - there all over the bottom, a few small shark teeth and one a urchen shell. The shell and teeth were donated to a worthy cause!
After 20 minutes under water, I decided to do the beach thing and the other divers did more diving. Well it was a long long swim back. It seemed to take forever. Again, this is not a dive for the weak of body! We were swimming with the current and about 3 foot waves. Luckly, the waves did not break over us, we rode on top of them. Again, we were swimming on our backs with BC's fully inflated. Well, after what seemed like an hour, I arrived at the beach to meet some divers that were on previous trips - small world! I put away my gear, broke out the Gatorade and crashed on the beach for a while. When the others came in (about an hour later), we started to put away our gear. Some RedNeck came over and was talking about the gator in the water about 50 ft away and that he needed some rope to catch it. Well, we donate some spare dive rope and a small group was waiding in 1 - 1 1/2 ft of dirty sandy water trying to move this gator to the roper. It was cool when the gator went under and no one knew where it was coming up??!!>> This thrill quickly vanashed as the bugs were getting to us. We finished cleaning up, downed lot's of drinks, showered and had some grubs at Sharkies Restaurant!
Then for the 4 hour drive home, drop off the other divers, clean up the sand laden gear, wash the ton of bugs off the van and Crash! It was a long hot day!