Dive Trip Report MARATHON

Hey there Gang, how about a flight to Marathon (MTH), dive for BUGS, and fly home in time for late supper!!

Phil (a coworker with a Moony - (4 place, retractable gear, fast airplane) and I flew to Marathon, did 2-1 hour dives for bugs and flew back. The flight was 2 hours, VFR, during daylight, at 3000' each way. We left Melbourne (MLB) at 8 am, arrived at Marathon at 10 am. We flew low, under the clouds, MLB to PHK, then kind-of direct MTH. We did have flight following all the way - we did cross the Air Defense Zone (ADZ)!! Upon landing at Marathon, we refueled at The Flight Department, Exxon - East end of the airport, a very nice FBO. A mile walk north led us to SubWay for an early lunch. Another block north and we were at Middle Keys Scuba Center {MM 52.8, 11511 Overseas Hwy, (305)-743-2902}. Middle Keys is a medium size scuba shop that will take 2 divers on the boat wherever they want to go. My previous experience diving Marathon has previously not been very pleasant - your at the wim of the dive shop. At Middle Keys, if your the first one on the list - you state where you want to go. I've never seen this before. The entire dive trip was very rewarding and I highly recommend Middle Keys!!! I did make one mistake of taking all my dive gear minus weights and tanks. In the future, bring only your fins, mask, reg - leave the BC et al at home!

On the boat, we had Phil, myself and a local commercial pilot that lives in Marathon plus the dive boat captain. Our first dive was JewFish Reef, 20' for 50 minutes. JewFish Reef has a long ridge rising from 20 to about 10'. It's loaded with coral, very very pretty. We did see some Bugs - but to get to them would have ment really trouncing on the coral - we did not try for the bugs. One was about 4 lbs!!!

The second dive location was Mini Cannon - known for its mini cannon balls. We did not see any mini-cannon balls - we were not locals! The area was flat, 22' for 50 min, temp 90+ at the bottom! Vis 100' (forever). The area was sandy with areas of rock and grass about 1-5' in dia. We searched each area. We looked under the rocks. We brushed aside the grass. No Bugs - several nice fish! After we got back on the boat, the third diver, the local Marathon Pilot came back on board with a bag full of BUGS! UGH! He had been on the Port forward side of the boat - we did not go to that area - we'll never know!!

Well, no bugs, great flight, great dive areas, price very reasonable - I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

After getting back to the dive shop, we rushed to get to the plane and FBO before they closed at 6. For the week previous, there were numerous storms over S. Florida, and we were very interested in looking at the State Radar Picture. Well the storms were from Miami to West Palm on the East Coast only. We were able to fly up the west coast to lake Oakachaobee the direct to Melbourne. We passed just under the clouds around southern Florida and could see the really bad stuff to our east. Landing at MLB at 7:45 PM, the end of a short day, flying to the keys, diving and getting home before sunset!

Last Updated: 10-July-2002

The Irishman Software's, West Melbourne, Florida
Irishman@SpryNet.Com - http://www.IrishmanSoftware.com/