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Soonerwink
09-23-2007, 17:11
We boarded the M/V Spree at 8:15 pm on Sunday the 16th. During our briefing Capt. Frank tells us it will be a rough ride out to the Flower Gardens, wave height is 5-6 feet. He asks us if we wouldn’t mind getting there later and doing our first dive at 8:00 am instead of 7:00. Everyone agreed it would allow the boat to slow down a little and give us an extra hour of sleep even though it meant we would get 10 dives instead of 11. Monday morning we wake to a beautiful day only about 2 feet wave height.The rough ride out took its toll on Keith who had a bad case of seasickness, but still starts to gear up for our first dive on the Flower Gardens west bank at Buoy #5. Kenny, Keith and I are the first to take the 5 to 6 foot drop off the boat into the beautiful blue water. There is very little current and 100 foot visibility and 84 degree water. We see all the wonderful, healthy hard corals the Flower Gardens are famous for and all the usual reef fish.


The second dive is also at the same place at 11:30. Again the three of us are the first in the water and proceed to explore and try to figure out our cameras.



For the third dive we move to the East Bank buoy #6 . We enter the water at 4:01 visibility here is about 80+ feet temperature 82 degrees.


The fourth dive of the day is a night dive at the same location. This is an awesome dive with hundreds of picture opportunities. Visibility has increased to 100+.

Tuesday morning we move to buoy #1. Again beautiful weather and seas only 2 feet. We enter the water at 7:53 for dive #5. We are not on the bottom 5 minutes when Kenny starts yelling through his reg. You can actually here him yell your name. He has spotted a large Manta Ray.It makes two passes by us and we get a bunch of pictures.

For dive # 6 we move to Rig HI-A-572C. We enter the water at 11:58. The rig is covered in sponges and soft corals with the usual reef fish everywhere.


For dive #7 we move to Stetson Bank buoy #3. We see a beautiful Scorpion fish, a Silky Shark and Keith and I got to see 6 to 7 foot Blue Marlin dive down and take a fish, an awesome sight. It was too fast to get a picture of.


Dive #8 is at the same place, but it is a night dive. We enter the water at 8:11 and I quickly realize I have forgotten to put in my weight pouches. I tell Kenny and Keith to go on and I re-board the boat and put in my weights. 6 minutes later I enter the water and try to catch up with them. I spotted a huge turtle why trying to find them.

We also found a huge Lobster and several Eels, another fabulous dive.

Wednesday morning we wake to storming weather and 5 to 6 foot waves. Visibility is still great but there is a strong current on the bottom. Keith and I see a 6 to 8 foot Spotted Eagle Ray. Neither one of us could get a good picture. On dive #10 our last dive again we have a very strong current. Keith came up with less than 200 lbs. air and I was down to 550 lbs. we stayed down as long as possible. Which we did on every dive, I don’t think Keith ever came back with even 500 lbs. I can’t wait to go back I love the Flower Gardens and Stetson Bank.

I will upload some pictures as soon as I can figure out how. I uploaded some to flickr here is a link http://www.flickr.com/photos/14058467@N04/?saved=1

chinacat46
09-23-2007, 17:22
Thnx for the report. One of these days I will have to dive Flower Gardens. Always worried about going down there and then getting blown out.

Soonerwink
09-23-2007, 17:39
Thnx for the report. One of these days I will have to dive Flower Gardens. Always worried about going down there and then getting blown out.

I know what you mean this was a makeup trip for me. Our first trip was cancelled due to Dean.

Soonerwink
09-23-2007, 23:16
I edited the original thread and added this link for some of the photos I took. This was the first time I have taken photos with my Oly sp-350, no strobe as of yet. All photos were taken in Auto mode. I still have a lot to learn with this camera. I think out of more than 200 shots I might be able to come up with about 10 worth framing and putting on my office wall. Here is a link to some. http://www.flickr.com/photos/14058467@N04/?saved=1

CowboyMike
09-26-2007, 21:10
:smiley20::smiley36::smiley20:My first trip on the Fling was soooooo cool. I was lucky to have flat seas all weekend and the diving was fantastic. The crew was very professional and the food was above average and pleantiful.

I am looking forward to going back next year!!:smiley20:

Soonerwink
09-26-2007, 21:24
This was my second trip aboard the Spree, and I plan on going back next year. I will probably plan a trip in July or first week of Aug. That seems to be the best time to try and beat the weather. I always do the 3 day trip because of the long drive down. I don't want to drive that far for only a weekend trip. Plus I think it was only 50.00 more.

SHAGGY
09-26-2007, 23:30
Great post,...... Thanks for sharing the pics too. I plan on going next summer. What time of the year tends to be the best there?

Soonerwink
09-27-2007, 17:20
There are more trips cancelled in the Spring, but it's a great time to go because of all the hammerheads then. Usually by the 2nd week in Aug. you are taking a chance a tropical storm or hurricane may cancel your trip. I think any time is great and you can always reschedule or take a refund if your trip happens to get cancelled.

divingmedic
09-27-2007, 20:09
I was lucky to go out there in 2004 for the coral spawning, That is still the best dive of my life.

Soonerwink
09-27-2007, 21:19
The coral spawn now that would be the ultimate diving experience. I have only seen pictures and the Imax movie on it and it looks awsome.