Dive Florida - Reefs, Fish, Blue/Green Water

Dive Trip Report to: Stuart, Florida
Purpose: To Dive in Florida

Dive Reports:

Dive #1: Sunday, 14-May-2000, Morning Dive. My Dive #291
A. Dive Boat / Location: "Just-U-And-I", The Rankin
B. Conditions:
Visibility: Well - read the story!
Seas: FLAT
Water Temp: 70's on the top (read the story)
Skies: SCBS (Sunny Clear Blue Skies
Air Temp: 80's
C. Dive Information:
Depth & Time: Me: Genesis Nitrox Dive Computer - 91 ft for 34 min, Analog - 88 ft, Cochran Captain (Very Unreliable Dive Computer) - 87 ft for 34 min.
Air consumption: Me: 3300 lb to 800 lb (80 cu ft) 30 % Nitrox
Current: Mild
Description: Well the Rankin is a 400 ft ship about 9 miles East of Stuart Inlet. She's a BIG Ship laying on her side facing N/S! The bottom is 125 ft, the top of the ship (really the top of one of the sides) is at about 75 ft (that tells ya something about her size). The ride out was nice - almost flat seas! We arrived to find several fishing boats anchored to the Northern Stern Area of the Rankin. Well, we headed towards the bow and anchored about mid-ship. It's easy to follow the contour of the ship - if your on it, the depth gauge reads around 70-80 ft. If your off, it reads 125 ft. On entry, the water was warm, blue and calm! Following the anchor line, at about 30 ft, we hit a thermocline (that's a sharp warm / cold water layer). The vis went to nil! It looked like Brown Whale Snot ! By the time we hit the ship, vis was not over 8 ft and the temp settled off at 65 -66 deg (almost cold enough to freeze ice cubes). My dive partner, having dove this ship many times lead me towards the bow on along the handrail. The Rankin is on it's side. We went up and back a few times gathering tropicals. We did spot some 30-40 lbs jacks - could barely see them. The ship seems intact - what I could see of it! There's lot's of stuff hanging out in all directions. Most of these appendages have fishing lines, hooks and weights on them. We managed to get semi-hooked up in these several times - dive partner to the rescue! Well, after two trips towards the bow (which I never did see), we had enough fun and went back to the anchor line, unhooked it and followed it to the surface. During the dive, I was kind of wondering what would happen if I lost sight of my dive partner and needed to re-find the anchor line to go up! It would have been easy to miss in the 5 - 8 ft of vis. At least there was only a very slight current, so if I had to go up without the anchor line or a dive partner, I would still have been close to the boat. We stayed in the on the boat in the area for a while for the tropicals decompressed at 40 ft. A quick stop at another nearby ship wreck in 80 ft also had poor vis! Enough of the Diving the Stuart Ship Wrecks!

Dive #2: Sunday, 14-May-2000, Noon Dive. My Dive #292
A. Dive Boat / Location: Location: "Just-U-And-I", Southern End of Pecks Lake
B. Conditions:
Visibility: See Story
Seas: Flat at first then 1 - 2 ft (winds out of the SE about 10)
Water Temp: 71 deg (Brrrr)
Skies: SCBS (Sunny Clear Blue Skies
Air Temp: 80's
C. Dive Information:
Depth & Time: Me: Genesis Nitrox Dive Computer - 25 ft for 51 min
Air consumption: Me: 3400 lb to 1500 lb (120 cu ft)
Current: Mild- but the winds out of the S/W took the boat at about one knot!
Description: With poor vis and cold temperatures out to sea, we decided to dive in Pecks Lake. We were at the southern end of it -about 5 miles south of Stuart Inlet, a mile out in 22 - 25 ft of water. There was a slight breeze from the SE picking up. We could see the bottom from the boat. Upon entering the water we found bottom vis about 15 ft! Not very good for diving in the shallows! One had to be careful in looking under ledges - a startled nurse shark could do some harm it she ran into you!! There was a slight surge. After 10 min of wondering around, there were no fish or bugs in sight!
We picked up the anchor and let the wind carry the boat to the north while we held on for the free ride. The bottom temp was 71 deg - COLD! With the boat pulling us through the water at about on knot, it was also pushing the water through our wet suits. We went across several large sand flats and almost gave up the dive. There were no bugs, very few fish, no colors - just some sponges! At one spot, my partner recognized the location, dropped the anchor and poked around under a 15 ft size rock. Under it was found about a 3 pound bug! The only one found - too bad the season was over.
Well, after 55 min of bottom time and half a tank of air left, we gave up the dive. Fun was over, we were cold and there was nothing to see in this Southern Location. While cleaning up and eating lunch, we spotted the dive boat out of Stuart - it was diving in the same location we were in - nothing to see there!

Irishman Software, Satellite Beach, Florida
Mail Corrections / Additions to : Irishman@SpryNet.Com
Last Updated 20-Dec-99