Yesterday I planned to take a trip to Danie Beach Ero Jacks or somewhere in that vicinity. We left and started with Pepper Park, about an hours drive away from us in Fort Pierce. The park is open again.
Facilities are clean and it was very quite. We arrived about 9am and took a quick peak at the seas. Slight waves, maybe 2 feet but a pretty good chop further out. We decided to go for it. We geared up and headed across the walkway. There looks to be 3-4 walkways. We chose the 2nd from the south closer to the condos as we had heard to descend closer to the condos for better reef viewing. I had just got a new steel tank gifted from hubby and let me just comment that I probably had a total of 13-15 pounds less weight. Beautiful! The walkways are a bit long but doable with a ramp, no stairs. The beach was about a 40 foot walk to get in the water but sand was a nice consistency and you didn’t slip and slide too much.
We got in the water and proceeded to prepare for the swim out. I noticed Rich was struggling a bit with the flag and he was being pulled more than I was to the north. We got out about 100 feet and it was a battle. Rich thought he heard some air bubbles. So we went back in closer to shore. took about 10 minutes to get to where we could stand. Seas were pulling you out.
Let me say, we are not new swimmers and are pretty adventurous but this should have been the first sign for the day. When it takes a bit to get back into shore, there are definitely some issues with dive conditions. Also, the air bubble issue we take serious as we have had at least 4 O-rings blow on tanks while diving. One in Nica out in high seas. Having to take tank off back in water and replace ring. We decided that it was a hell no for this location and decided to head south.
I love my husband dearly, he is a total gem when it comes to hauling gear and cleaning gear. He is a little short on patience at times though. Does not like things to go not as planned. So, I take a deep breath and get him water and try to be a smiling, happy person.
We get back on 95 and head to LBTS. We arrived about 12 noon. Parked at Datura Ave and walked to the shores edge. You could clearly see 2 good rip currents. The chop was very good here and seaweed was all broken off in water. We looked at each other and said no. Let’s head south. So we took a drive along A1A down to Dania. We figured we could always come back around 3-4 to LBTS. After the afternoon showers sometimes it clears up and the water is like glass. We drove by the boardwalk walkway at Lauderdale beach and noticed yellow caution flags posted on each lifeguard stand. Check the pics out. You can see the winds and the chop. Ok, nothing ventures, nothing gained. We head to Dania.
Dania entry is kinda weird. The pier and John U Lloyd park are both back in the boonies. We we on into the pier area. First thing we noticed was the red flag. Yikes! The seas god’s are not being kind today. We look around to get a lay of the land anyway. Tons of surfers and more unloading boards from the car. Not a good sign. We laugh and decide to just have a wander. And a beer.
Pretty little park area in the no lifeguard area. Volleyball nets and quite a few college kids enjoying themselves. There is a little restaurant as well. You do have to feed a parking meter. But it looked clean and well-maintained area. There was a lifeguard standing up on his chair at this point, screaming , waving hands and laying on the air horn nonstop. Another bad sign.
So we head back to LBTS. It is about 3pm. We decide if it is bad to have a swim and an ice cream from Kilwins. On the drive back, the lifeguard stands all had red flags and one area had a red flag with no one in the water sign. Another bad sign.
We get back to LBTS and park by Hibiscus Ave. The waters are way worse but I need to cool down. We grab another beer and head to the water’s edge. Very refreshing. Much warmer than a few weeks ago but we are in between two good rip current we keep our eye on. We hose off and head for a walk down by the pier. While in one of the local stores we hear that there was one, possibly two fatalities off the beach for swimmers. Another bad sign.
We head to Kilwins, get a big cup of ice cream. Don’t do the cone, it drips everywhere in this heat. We head to the pier area and sit in the shade for a bit. We observe parents shouting at kids like crazy to come in closer everywhere. We decide to head back home. Clean everything including ourselves, have a couple cocktails and head for dinner.
So, this summer is all about learning about our limits, expectations and striving for the ultimate enjoyable dive experiences.
What did I learn today? One day dive trips sucks! The amount of time to haul gear, suit up, adapt to bad situations, and then clean and break down everything is a total pain in the ass. Factor in the drive time. Over 7 hours in the car for zero dives. Some fabulous lessons in patience and some invaluable time off work and spent with Rich.
With that said, we have decided to do 3-4 day dive trips. We will be spacing them every 10-14 days. I am leaving next Thursday night and staying till Saturday or Sunday if conditions. Plan is to stay in LBTS and check out Dania Beach and Deerfield Beach. Do shore dives and one boat dive. If the dove conditions are not acceptable then we are heading down to the keys.
Also, I posted yesterday on scubaboard the results as the day went along for other divers. I would really love to open up a section here where fellow divers can post current shore and offshore conditions they experienced. It would help everyone else out there.
Come on guys, there doesn’t need to be any secrets…the ocean is big for us to all share. Anyway, look for that section later on today.