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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Diving Breakers & Bath and Tennis

By Jeri L. Curley
04/23/2011

The week began with iffy forecasts. We sold our slots, then we had cancellations. We ended up with 4 divers from our group and 6 from Sea Level. Not a bad tally and a group of great divers to boot. The boat was sold out despite the forecast for 3-5 foot seas which was downgraded to 2-4 foot the day before with 4 second intervals. Four second intervals—rolling waves. Nothing we can't handle. I decided to try the dive without my 7mm, so I packed my farmer john and top. I haven't used that top in a couple of years and it took two of us to zip it up. Now really, I have LOST weight since I last used this wet suit. The first dive was north Breakers (named for the Breakers Hotel which was the back drop in a scene in the recent detective TV series, The Glades) ending at Turtle Mound. Our group was fist in the water—DIVE, DIVE, DIVE! It was easy to spot Bill with his funky looking yellow fins and even easier to spot Don from a mile away with his NEON Yellow, glow-in-the-dark fins. I actually had to hunt for Bob, he blended in with all the other nondescript dive gear toting divers.

For the first time I was able to get a couple of shots of a Coronet fish (two—one about 4 foot long , the other about 2 foot—and they were together) from the front and not side. My wet suit was making it difficult to hold my camera up in front of me!! UGGG!!! We found lots of nurse sharks. For some reason they were stacked like cord wood under ledges. In one ledge, there were four on top of each other. We also found a little 2 foot nurse shark. Awww! We spotted a green moray in a crevice. He started to move away and I started to follow to see where he'd come out. Next thing I knew, he was popping out of a hole heading straight for my camera. My first thought was "Please camera, focus fast!!!" The dive time was approaching the 50 minute mark and the dive master decided to continue since I had requested Turtle Mound. We trekked the open sand to hit our mark. We were swimming against the current at this point and I almost gave up. But perseverance paid off. We did find one loggerhead sleeping under a ledge and we made it to the north end where the dive master requested a special dental cleaning from a couple of Scarlet-striped cleaning shrimp. The second group caught up with us at this time and we started to head up. We reached the surface and saw that the dive boat was still picking up divers. We kicked back and waited, chatting excitedly about all the cool critters we'd seen. The waves had calmed down a bit. I was surprised. The seas are usually calmer in the morning and kick up in the afternoon. For our surface interval, I brought our traditional Oreo cookie treat. I couldn't find Easter Oreos so I settled for Heads or Tails cookies. Heads or Tails...HMM. That sounds like my photos! Trying to get the heads but sometimes shooting the tails. As usual, Abernethy provided the artfully displayed pineapple and we chatted non-stop about the great dive.

I ripped off that offending wet suit top which was beginning to cut off circulation and decided that I would brave the cold. As soon as I hit the water my weight pocket dropped out. I didn't realize it until I started to list, then I knew exactly what had happened. I shifted weights into my pocket with some help from my dive buddy and continued on. We dropped at Bath and Tennis (named for the Bath and Tennis Club). The current was a little stronger on this dive. The viz a little worse but still a great dive. After we got back to the dock, we got a big surprise. Sea Level gave us a voucher for two free Nitrox fills. What a great gift! Thank You.

We packed up the gear and the kids into the mini-van and headed to Cheeseburger and More in Jupiter for lunch and more discussions about what we'd seen that day. You may have seen my post on Facebook with a snapshot of a snapshot from the restaurant . Drifty McNeally had gotten his photo taken for eating a 3 pound burger and he had the tummy bulge to prove it. What a great place to live and dive! Florida Rocks!

 

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