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drifter136
05-30-2008, 17:47
I'm hoping to save up enough money over the summer to make the move down to Florida. I've had enough of Ohio for now. I am looking at the Bradenton area. I have family that live in Venice and Bradenton just seems like a nice location for staying close to Venice and still being close to the Clearwater/Tampa area which I think is absolutely beautiful.

How is the diving in this region? Is there much in the way of shore dives or would most destinations be boat dives? Aside from Crystal River to the north, are there any other nearby springs that offer good year round diving? I think my last question would be about how long of a drive would it be to The Keys? This question I could easily find using MapQuest, but thought I'd go ahead and ask. If it is only a 4-6 hour drive that would be amazing as that could make for possible occasional weekend trips to The Keys....this Ohio boy won't know what to do with himself.

SkuaSeptember
05-30-2008, 19:24
These folks in Venice are top notch! They offer some great charters and would probably be a great source for info on other local diving.
http://www.floridawestscuba.com/

Here is a pretty good source
Insider Information - Local Diving - ScubaBoard (http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/florida-conch-divers/60333-insider-information-local-diving.html)

The following was borrowed from "Missdirected" on the other board:

Dive Spot: *Spanish Rocks*

Location: *Bradenton Beach/Anna Maria Island, FL*

Type of diving: *Shore dive – good for beginners*

From Tampa ST/Pete: I-75 south from Tampa to the Bradenton/ State road 64 exit.
Note, there is an A and B – take exit A it will head you toward the beach.
Exit toward the right. Stay on that road for about 8 miles or so, until you get to Gulf Dr. (you will hit Gulf Dr. after you cross the intercoastal waterway).
Turn left on Gulf Dr. and take it down about 1/2 mile
Just before the curve to the left there is beach access and parking. That is where you want to be. It is a small sand lot between some houses and apartments. Just pull in and park. Gear up walk down the beach to the left about 50 yards (6 houses).

From Sarasota/Bradenton:
Take 41 north to Cortez Rd. turn left (west) on Cortez until you cross the intercoastal waterway.
Turn right at Gulf Drive and go north about 2 miles
Follow Gulf Drive to the left at the traffic light
The beach access is on the left after you round the curve
Beach access is a small sand lot between some houses and apartments. That is where you want to be. It is a small sand lot between some houses and apartments. Just pull in and park. Gear up walk down the beach to the left about 50 yards (6 houses).

The address for the house next to the sandlot where one should park is; 33 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, FL.
Some other links:
Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&z=16&ll=27.490808,-82.710227&spn=0.014105,0.025921&om=1&msid=113891634991865426876.00000111d8ab109f7f281&msa=0 (http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&z=16&ll=27.490808,-82.710227&spn=0.014105,0.025921&om=1&msid=113891634991865426876.00000111d8ab109f7f281&msa=0))
Google Maps (http://tinyurl.com/2wx3qr (http://tinyurl.com/2wx3qr))

What to expect at the dive site:
Rock ledges soft, hard small coral croppings, Sea grasses with sea horses. 22ft’ or less. DON'T FORGET YOUR DIVE FLAG!!! Boaters here are known for their careless behavior, so be cautious and again don’t forget your flag.
Amenities: None. Closest dive shop - Seatrek Divers Dive Shop - 105 7th Street North; Bradenton Beach, FL 34217; (941) 779-1506
Pros and Cons: Great dive for newbs, as depths are no greater than 22'. Fairly easy swim from beach to site. Visibility is rarely better than 15' but the price is right!

Enjoy the warm water!

scubasamurai
05-30-2008, 20:37
i can answer the keys question for you since i did the trip this april from the tampa area ( slightly north of tampa in land o lakes) it took about 5 hours door to door from tampa to key largo. i also understand they finished the new bridge on route one so traffic should be flowing alot easier , except on the weekends still alittle hairy. i used ocean divers and bought a multi dive card , came to 65 $ per tow tank dive, and stayed next door at the marina del mar, but the holiday in and i think a radisson are also on the same dock and walking distance. goodluck

Largo
05-30-2008, 20:45
Look these guys up, they are really nice.

Florida Underwater Sports

Florida Underwater Sports - Home (http://www.floridaunderwatersports.com)

941-870-4461

drifter136
05-30-2008, 21:10
All info has been very helpful and much appreciated. Thank you everyone. Florida springs are so much prettier than Ohio stone quarries! My class snorkeled the Crystal and Rainbow Rivers while we were doing our checkout dives at Devil's Den. I remember the springs being so clear...especially the Three Sisters Springs area...I guess it's not called the Crystal River for nothing.

USF_Diver
05-31-2008, 16:07
The bradenton/ana maria island area is a nice area. Always liked that area.

I left from tampa and got to the keys in about 5 hours so its not a bad drive and key largo the first key has some of the best diving also.

Gennie Springs to the north about 2 1/2 hours is one of the best springs in Florida to dive.