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WV Diver
02-18-2009, 08:47
Trip Report



Florida Feb 2009


This probably belongs in the Florida Forum but I thought the Darkwater Divers would enjoy it more to know someone got some warm water diving in this winter.

We are traveling in a group of 13 from West Virginia and Maryland. This is our dive shops annual pilgrimage to Ginnie Springs, Blue Grotto and West Palm Beach. This is my 5th trip, usually working with students to finish check out dives but there weren't enough students this year to really warrant even making the trip. Kokomo (Ko) had never been so we decided to go so she could do some of the spring diving in Florida.

During the planning process Mocepts (Mo) and his wife (T), not a board member yet, we'll call her T, decided they needed a break from winter and signed up to go also. We carpooled in T's vehicle.

We had driven down into South Carolina and spent the night in Walterboro then drove the rest of the way into Ginnie Springs the next morning.

Ginnie Springs 12 Feb 09

Dive #1 - Early afternoon

Water Temperature 72*F of course. (more or less)
Air temperatures in the 70's
Maximum depth 20'

The four of us entered on the Little Devil side. Water seemed chilly but I never really noticed it once I was under. Newly serviced regulator had a slight free flow on the primary. I also could hear the hiss of what turned out to be a high pressure hose leak. Bad start but I didn't let it stop the dive.

After a quick peak down into Little Devil we moved on to Devil's Eye and fooled around the top of it taking pictures and getting our gear situated. First dives since November. Finally Kokomo and I went into the eye and took pictures of the sign at the entrance to the cave. I was towing the dive flag so I rolled over at the bottom of the eye and took a picture of the dive flag at the surface. The picture turned out nice.

Once out of the eye we got some good pictures of a freshwater flounder and fooled around the area for a time before moving onto Devil's Ear. Mo descended into the ear a little ways but the current coming out didn't allow him to advance too far into it.

Then we moved out into the Santa Fe River and began the drift portion of the dive down to the Ginnie Spring entrance. We saw several species of fish during the dive and two species of turtle. Two of the turtles were together resting in the grass and of course took off as I drifted buy them. Both of them fair size, probably 12" -14" across. Some painted turtle variety, though I am not familiar with the Florida species. One was small, about the size of a stink pot turtle and I held him form a minute as he swam by me, then let him go. He didn't like having his journey interrupted. Sorry little guy.

We drifted to the Ginnie Spring entrance and entered moving slowly toward the ballroom. Once at the ballroom we ended our dive and got out to retrieve lights and get fresh tanks. The high pressure hose leak had disappeared after the tank was about half gone.

First time I used our new digital camera, Sea and Sea 1200 HD, and I could tell the picture quality was way better than the disposable and film cameras I had been using in the past.

Ginnie Springs 12 Feb 09
Dive # 2 Mid afternoon

Water Temperature 72*F of course. (more or less)
Air temperatures in the 70's
Maximum depth 51'

After a quick adjustment to my primary regulator and a little soaking up of the sun we entered into the Ginnie Spring pool at the entrance to the ballroom. T opted to sit out as she was too cold to do the second dive. Mo, KO and I entered the pool and then moved into the ballroom for a look around.

I had been a little chilly after the first dive and wore my hooded vest this dive. The small built in flash of the camera wasn't enough to get good pictures deep in side the ballroom. The flow of water coming through the gate of the ballroom didn't seem as strong this time as it had in all my past trips.

Everyone got there looks around and Mo took some nice video leaving the ballroom and coming out the exit.


Blue Grotto 13 Feb 09

A little chilly this morning, about 45*F, when we arrived at the spring. We were the first ones there and the gate was still closed. I was looking forward to meeting Rox@ucf11 and DeepnOva here for the first time. I had been talking to them a lot on the boards over the past couple years but had never met them.


We were setting up when Rox got there but Deep was unable to make it. Rox brought an extra 7' hose for me to try out. Our group was ready to enter so we descended and waited for Rox to catch up.

Dive #1 13 Feb 09

Water Temperature 72*F of course. (more or less)
Air temperatures in the mid 40's
Maximum depth 98'

We all just moved around in the shallows and generally checked out the area, the platforms, and went up into the dive bell. When rox arrived KO and T buddied up and Mo, Rox and I descended into the deep part of the cavern to do the loop. My high pressure hose is getting worse. But the dive went well.

The sky must have been a little overcast this morning. I noticed that there wasn't as much sunlight shining into the pool as in years past and the pictures show it.

Rox was diving white double 85's, and that's about all you can see of him in the pictures. I will have to Photoshop them later.

Dive #2 13 Feb 09

Water Temperature 72*F of course. (more or less)
Air temperatures in the mid 40's to low 50's
Maximum depth 99'

T and KO stayed out this dive and did some shopping in the dive shop for tee shirts. So Rox, Mo and I did the deep dive again. I switched out my primary hose and tried the 7 hose that Rox brought. I liked it and will likely get one for this upcoming season. Still there doesn't seem to be much sunlight penetrating the pool.

Mo says the HP hose leak is much more noticeable now. So I went to the dive shop and picked up a new one.

We made burgers and hot dogs on the grill and had a nice lunch. Then we walked around the property and took some pictures.

Rox was talking to the dive shop guy and he was telling us about the cave entrance on the property. It is in a small concrete building just beyond most of the picnic and parking area. We went and looked at it, it is very small. It doesn't look as though it would be a very far swim to the exit into the cavern and there is a large rotating fan that keeps you from entering/exiting the cave from the cavern area. I don't think they allow anyone to dive the cave anymore.

We fed the soft shelled turtle some leftover buns from lunch near the platform and got some pictures of him and the big catfish before leaving for West Palm Beach.

West Palm Beach

Just before arriving at the hotel I called CwbyDiver (CD) to see if he wanted to meet us for dinner. We were all thinking seafood at this point. CD is another of those board members I have been talking to but never met. Sure enough he was close to us and met us at the hotel and got a room.

As we were leaving to get dinner we discovered we had a flat tire. Great, just what we needed. So while the girls lounged by the pool CD helped Mo and I change it out and off we went to meet the rest of the group at Red Lobster. I know Red Lobster isn't the best seafood in Florida but it was late and that's how it goes sometimes.

Dinner went well and afterward I got the HP hose changed out.

Dive #1 West Palm Beach 14 Feb 09 Valentines Day

West Palm Beach - Jim Abernathy's Scuba Adventures
Boat Deep Obsession
Water Temperature Surface 72*F, at depth 70*F
Air temperatures in the 70's
Maximum depth 58's - Visibility 30-40'
Reef Ron's Rock South to Tear Drop, nicknamed Valentines Reef for today.

Our group was split into two groups as we had a boat full.

The captain dropped our group on the south end of Ron's Rock Reef expecting a North current. There was a south current instead but the DM didn't put us back on the boat and redrop us on the north end. Instead she opted to swim the current the whole dive. So we ended up swimming to Tear Drop, never did see Ron's Rock. The DM was obviously inexperienced and didn't even have a compass, she used mine. Anyway the dive was not a total loss. I got some nice pics of a big turtle and the current wasn't all that bad really. Though there was some grumbling from the group on the boat afterward.

The DM for the other group, Susan, whom I have dove with several times over the years brought her group up for a redrop, as she should have, after a few minutes of fighting the current. That group really actually did two dives by the time the redrop occurred.

Dive #2 West Palm Beach 14 Feb 09 Valentines Day

West Palm Beach - Jim Abernathy's Scuba Adventures
Boat Deep Obsession
Water Temperature Surface 70*F, at depth 70*F
Air temperatures in the 70's to low 80's
Maximum depth 61' - Visibility 30-40'
Reef Breakers' 2 Windows South

The captain dropped us in the middle of a reef so we could drift either way regardless of current. Everyone enjoyed the dive much better this time around. We saw a very large Green Moray. This dive was much nearer to shore and the water felt much cooler here.

Overall we had a great trip and a good time was had by all.

Edits pictures by Wizard41 - Photobucket (http://s145.photobucket.com/albums/r218/Wizard41/Florida%202009%20edits/Edits/)

WV Diver
02-18-2009, 09:15
I have put some pictures in this album from years past so that I could have most of the good ones in one place.

For those interested in the new Sea and Sea 1200HD camera that I bought from Scuba Toys, of course.

SEA & SEA DX1200 HD Camera reviews and discounts, Sea & Sea (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=SeaAndSeaDX1200HD)

CamaroChick
02-18-2009, 10:07
nice report! I'm debating whether or not to do some diving when I go to FL in April. I'm not sure if the water will be warm enough for me though - the temps you reported are too cold for me. I'll be in Longboat Key (gulf side) so maybe the water will be warmer than the Atlantic...

mocepts
02-18-2009, 18:22
Thanks for typing up that great trip report WV. Saves me from having to do it. :smiley36:

I had a great time, and can't wait to travel with y'all again.

Splitlip
02-18-2009, 18:45
Thanks WV. I have made a butt load of dives with Jimmy's op.

Bummer about the backwards current. Should have been re-dropped.

One question though. What are those "tubey" things sticking out of everybody's head? :)

ektess1
02-18-2009, 18:54
Thanks for the report. A very nice write up.
Glad that you had a good trip. I haven't made it north to the springs yet. Maybe next year will be Cavern and Cave.

UCFKnightDiver
02-18-2009, 19:05
Was alot of fun diving with and meeting you WV thnks for inviting me to dive.


nice report! I'm debating whether or not to do some diving when I go to FL in April. I'm not sure if the water will be warm enough for me though - the temps you reported are too cold for me. I'll be in Longboat Key (gulf side) so maybe the water will be warmer than the Atlantic...

probably wont be warmer in the gulf but by april water temps may be warminf up again.

mocepts
02-18-2009, 19:20
Thanks WV. I have made a butt load of dives with Jimmy's op.

Bummer about the backwards current. Should have been re-dropped.

One question though. What are those "tubey" things sticking out of everybody's head? :)

They were them there breathey thingys.

emcbride81
02-20-2009, 23:14
sweet..nice pics WV.