Dive Trip Report to:
Purpose: SHARK DIVE, 23-June-2001
A. Dive Boat / Location:
Deep Obsession / West Palm
C. Dive Information:
Depth & Time:
Shoe's Shark Dive
After much preparation and anticipation the day had arrived for the brave of heart to "jump into the lion's den" so to speak. On Saturday, June 23rd sixteen intrepid souls joined with Jim Abernathy's Scuba Adventures in Riviera Beach, Florida to swim with the big fish. A little after 8:00 AM the Deep Obsession pulled out of Phil Foster park on the north side of the Blue Heron Boulevard bridge on a picture perfect morning. The sky was clear, the sun was bright and the seas were the flattest I've seen in while. The water was so clear that we could see the bottom as we journeyed out of the inlet and headed north to Shark Canyon . Jim, himself, was on the bow filling us in on the importance of sharks and their much-maligned reputation. He told us of his personal encounters, how we would conduct this dive and what must be done to protect these rulers of the sea.
We arrived on the scene and first chummed the waters. Then a box of deliciously ripe fish parts were lowered to entice them into the area and watch these funny air breathing creatures sink to the bottom. With "Dive, Dive, Dive" we entered the water. Visibility was around 80 feet and you could see shadows with fins in the distance. My buddy had trouble clearing her ears and, thanks to the rather strong current, we missed the drop zone by only a short distance. I could sense that she was beginning to get anxious as she fought to equalize and fight the current. I signaled to ascend so as to avoid panic and not waste time. She was apologetic as we surfaced but I told her not to worry, we'll simply have the boat re-drop us and try again. The second time was the charm as we settled into the sand at 81 feet . Water temperature was 80 degrees and that was after a thermo cline around 55 feet. Everyone was already there along with a number (10?) of Caribbean Reef Sharks and 2 Nurse Sharks . They swam all above us and around us while Jim video taped the entire event. Near the end of 35 or more minutes you could see everyone looking a their computers, wanting to stay to the last second and hoping not to go into the red zone of their nitrogen loading.
Once again on board the exhilaration was evident as everyone agreed on what a fantastic experience it had been. Right up to the homeless Remoras that were swimming around looking at us on our safety stop as potential partners. Since Jim Abernathy asks that you be responsible for yourself and your limits there is no "Everyone on the boat in 30 minutes or else!” Those on computers follow them and those on NITROX came up on there own time. No Dive Nazi's here . We reviewed the fantastic video during our surface interval and I hope to bring it to the next Down Under Dive Club meeting on July 11. After an hour and a half on board it was time to re-enter the water. We flew along Awesome Alley (sometimes referred to as Mid-Reef but Jim feels it deserves a better name...and he's right!) with a strong current for around 38 minutes. Maximum depth was 83 feet but average was 57 with 84 degree water. Saw Hawksbill turtles, spotted morays and more homeless Remoras! Jim had said there had been an unusual amount of Manta's seen in the area lately but unfortunately none came out to play. We finished the day with a trip to the Brass Ring for food and logbook signing. Jim Abernathy's Scuba Adventures is a top-notch operation especially for those divers that are confident and responsible about their abilities. They are also a hell of a lot of fun and that's what it's all about. They'll be seeing us again!
John "SHOE" Schumann
Last Updated: 10-July-2002