Dive Trip Report to: Peck Lake
Purpose: To Dive in Florida for BUGS!
Dive #1: Saturday, 11-Mar-2000, Morning Dive. My Dive #279
A. Dive Boat / Location: Just-U-and-I / Peck Lake (Just South of Stewart Inlet)
Visibility: 10 ft (normal beach dive vis, poor deep dive vis)
Seas: 3 - 6 ft (Yea it was rough)
Water Temp: 74 deg
Skies: SCBS (Sunny Clear Blue Skies
Air Temp: 80
C. Dive Information:
Depth & Time: Me: Genesis Nitrox Dive Computer - Getting it's Genesis check out! , Analog - 26 ft, Cochran Captain (Very Unreliable Dive Computer) - 25 ft for 1 hr, 5 min!
Air consumption: Me: 3500 lbs -> 500 lbs (120 cu ft)
Current: Medium with a Medium Surge
Description: Well as Lobster Season is coming to a close over the next few weeks, the opportunity to go for another bug only dive could not be resisted! The Dive Boat Just-U-and-I pulled out of Stewart Inlet by 8 am! The seas were running at least 4 ft! I commented to the Capt on the way out - Why are all the fishing boats coming in the inlet at this early time? Is it rough out there! Well it was rough! Just out of the Inlet, we turned South and went about 4 miles at a very slow throttle setting into a 25 mph SE wind - into the seas! Up one wave and then another would smash us, spray everywhere! Why - to dive fop BUGS! We finally arrived in the Peck's Lakes area, about 4 miles south of the inlet, 25 ft of water about a mile off the beach. There were at least 3 other boats in closer! We were still being rocked by 4 to 6 ft seas and getting the dive gear together and putting it on was fun! Going in was easy, just drop over the side backwards, once you got your gear on and could move to a side! On the bottom, vis was typical beach dive vis - 10 ft! You don't need more for bugs, all your looking for is rock formations with at least a 6 inch space under it! This reef line was generally flat rock formations, some with 6" opening. There were a few larger formations - say 3 ft high by 10 ft long formations with larger under sides. The surge was very notable! The bugs were there, easy to find, but hard to get to! If you let the air out of your BC and settled to the bottom then tried to prod the bugs out from under the rocks, the surge would quickly build up the silt. Vis was zero in a few seconds. Well the modified surge bug semi-acrobatic approach was used! You are upside down - feet up towards the surface, your head is on the bottom in the sand, your left hand holds onto the rock edge, your flashlight is on the sand shining hopefully at the bug and you use you right hand to work the bug stick to tickle the bugs out! Yea, regs do work in this position! 10 minutes in this position under one rock resulted in 6 bugs! The surge still swishes you back and forth quite a bit! I didn't see any spotted moray's to worry about, so I wasn't tooo careful about where I grabbed. There were a few 3 ft barracuda and lot's and lot's of sheep's head!
Well after an hour on the bottom, air down to 1200 lbs, I started back to the boat. I wanted plenty of air for the ordeal of surface swimming against the current and climbing back onto the boat! Holding onto the 1 ft wide ladder on the stern in 3 to 6 ft seas with a mile current was interesting! You hold onto the ladder with one hand, remove your fins and stuff which you toss into the boat! Well, one toss of one fin during a big wave strike resulted in the fin going over the side and to the bottom! You don't go after one fin in conditions like this with only one fin on ya! So, when the Capt returned, I borrowed one of his fins (we both have the same type) and went back down looking for my missing fin! 10 minutes of looking and very little air left and no luck. Capt Bob tried with a new tank of air. 20 minutes later still no fin! But he did get more bugs! Diving was through for me for the day! Well Capt Bob tried one more trick! He pulled up the anchor and drifted a few feet above the bottom for a while. Well, about a hundred yards north of our position, he spotted the missing fin! Great guy this Capt Bob! Well, we were both pretty exhausted from our underwater fun! We did get some bugs, so back in we headed.
This time, we were going with the seas, so it was up one wave and down the next - at times we were really moving! But with the size of the waves, it could be a little scary! We did make it back!
Saturday afternoon was a Key's Trip Planning Party - the bugs were consumed and enjoyed by all!