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View Full Version : Panama City in 3 weeks.



Rockhound76
07-01-2008, 16:27
Hi,

I'm headed to Panama City in 3 weeks, camping at St. Andrews. I grew up diving there, since we lived about 3 hours north, but don't get back but once a year now (for a family reunion).

I'll have my 15yr. old with me. He's done the jetties there (last summer, right after he was certified). Now, he wants to visit some of the wrecks.

I sent Gomez at Panama City Dive Center an email, but haven't heard anything back. Is his shop still a good one to use? Any multi-dive packages in town? Any dives you'd recommend?

Keep in mind that I'm diving with a young, fairly new diver (about 40 ocean dives), so some of the deep stuff is out.

(checked the tides. Looks like the jetties are the spot for us the first 3 days, after that high tide is in the middle of the night..we'll head for the boat then.)

mike_s
07-01-2008, 16:53
I used PCDC in May and I thought their service on the boat had greatly improved over past years.

Most of their dives are 4 hour inshore trips. Often to Black Bart and Bridge Span #14. They are "infamous" for going to the same spots over and over again. But for a younger new diver that you are wanting to not get too deep, the Black Bart is a good wreck to start on. It's about 40' deep to the top of the wheel house and about 70, maybe 78' to the sand. I'd guess most of the deck is 65 feet and above.

If you want to talk to Gomez, call him for best results.

other wrecks that are somewhat shallow and popular are the USS Strength and some of the other bridge spans.

I don't think that any of the shops really have any "published packages". but you can call around and see.



You basically have PCDC and Dive Locker to chose from as shop/boat operators and then there are a couple Indpedent charter operators also. Such as Panama City Dive Charters (Pat Green) and Better Bottom Time charters.

I'd suggest picking up a copy of Ned DeLoaches "Under Diving Guide to Florida". You can buy it at Amazon.com.

"Scuba Panama City" by Danny Grizzard is informative also. Make sure you get one with the 2007 or maybe it was 2008 insert in the middle. I think they sell them at PCDC for about 10 bucks. or you can buy them from Products (http://www.gulfreefs.org/products.htm)

Flfiremedic
07-11-2008, 19:06
Try the Dive Locker...divelocker.net They have two boats running trips daily, and can help you out...ask for Todd, and tell them Dave sent you.

Flfiremedic
07-11-2008, 19:08
Just before I left for work the Jetties were slammed with Jellyfish, but we did see a Manatee, and there are pics of 5 hammerheads in the "Kiddie Pool" from earlier this year floating around.

FishFood
07-11-2008, 19:16
PCDC & The Dive Locker are cattle boats this time of the year. I'd definitely look into one of the 6 pack independent charters.

I've heard good things about > Dive Charters in Panama City Beach : Wreck Raider (http://www.wreckraider.net/) I plan on going with them next time I dive out of PCB.

mike_s
07-12-2008, 09:05
Just before I left for work the Jetties were slammed with Jellyfish, but we did see a Manatee, and there are pics of 5 hammerheads in the "Kiddie Pool" from earlier this year floating around.

here are some pics of the hammerheads you were talking about

http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i114/mikes2006/misc_images/scubaboard/sharks_22028Medium29.jpg


PCDC & The Dive Locker are cattle boats this time of the year. I'd definitely look into one of the 6 pack independent charters.

I've heard good things about > Dive Charters in Panama City Beach : Wreck Raider (http://www.wreckraider.net/) I plan on going with them next time I dive out of PCB.


I've never been out with the above Charter, but in a recent discussion over on SB, there were good things to say about him by others.

Flfiremedic
07-12-2008, 09:09
Wreck Raiders are good people...too jet lagged to think of names right now though. They will treat you right...you might also try Pat Green if Wreck Raiders are full.

EuphoriaII
07-18-2008, 23:02
Are you going this week or a week away? I'm going to Panama City Sat July 26 and plan to boat dive on Monday the 28th and do the jetties Tuesday the 27th.(tide permitting) I'll have my sons age 15 and 18 with me. The 18 y/o has been diving there twice and this will be the 15 y/o first ocean/boat dives. (just certified this year)

I used dive locker last year and while they do have some larger boats, I recall about 8, maybe 10 divers at the most. I think they are a little slower on weekdays. I was satisfied with their dive sites (Two tugs and I forgot the 2nd one) and thought they were a pretty good operation. The time before we use a different op that is now out of business and did the infamous Black Bart and Bridge span 14. I mentioned this to Dive locker and the promised to take us farther out and they held to that.
Never been diving the jetties (snorkled it once 10 yrs ago) but plan on doing that to keep the costs down.

By the way- my avitar pic is 'ringing the bell' on bridge span 14 on MY first ocean/boat dive.

**Edit** :Looking at the tide schedule I probably can't do the jetties till Friday, if at all :(

EuphoriaII
07-21-2008, 08:53
I just got confirmation we are diving with Dive Locker Monday the 28th. Can't wait to hit the road next weekend!

Rockhound76
08-06-2008, 07:44
Messed up all around on this one, since it appears I had TWO potential contacts in PC over the last couple of weeks.

I left "Will's" number at home in the confusion over a broken down tow vehicle (one day and $3000 later, we headed out), then I see when I get back that another forum member was there at the same time. I would have loved to have met/dived with either one of you.

Overall, the trip was great, despite some pretty rough dive days. My 15yr. old handled the boat dives and swing ladders like a pro....plus we had a nice offshore fishing trip. Again, rough water, but the fish were biting. We limited on snapper and stopped at 2 kings, as I had limited room in our camper freezer. King's don't freeze well, so we had them grilled, then broiled, then we had king salad, then......anyway they were pretty good the first four times we had them.

We made three dive trips with Panama City Dive Center and one with Dive Locker. We had one trip with Dive Locker blown out and another changed to "inshore" due to no-shows and bad weather. The dives were great, despite big swells that made me feel "loopy" at 90' as we swayed back and forth and despite 3-5' confused seas.

I'm glad the je....sorry, the GOLIATH GROUPERS are back. We saw one one almost every dive. The best was a "small", (5') one that loved to be rubbed and followed us around like a dog. The biggest we saw probably ran 500# or more.

I left the camera back at the camper, as I wanted to concentrate on making sure my son had good dives (he did!). Here is a photo of the kid holding an octopus on Bridge Span #14. We were diving off "Fintastic", one of Dive Locker's boats. VERY nice custom dive boat and very well run (we have no complaints about DL or PCDC). The photo was taking w/o a flash, with a compact digital, so forgive the quality. I tried to tone out the green to bring out some more natural colors.

Note: Please don't harang us for harassing this poor creature. It was collected by an instructor from DL, who handed it off to my surprised son. He (the octo) seemed rather calm and was returned to it's home unharmed. My son looked like he expected it to eat him.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb31/rockhound76/Cayman%20Islands%202008/Streghth-sp217_edited-1.jpg

DollFin
08-12-2008, 12:27
I just dove with PCDC last weekend. Long story short, I thought their service was so-so. We dove the bridge spans, which is a great site with tons to see, so I did have some good dives (I didn't see the bell though).

mike_s
08-14-2008, 14:46
I've never been on a PCDC trip that didn't include at least one of the bridge spans.....

Their service was pretty good in May. I think the bell is on span #14.