A couple of weeks ago I actually got a few days to head down to Lauderdale by the Sea to get some much needed shore dives in. First time in the deep blue for about 6 months due to work and the weather not cooperating. Local shore diving further North in Brevard, Indian and Martin counties has been non existent on my days off since October.
With that said, I was shocked that it felt like I had been in the water the day before. No jitters, no equipment issues, no major attitude issues with Richard, no sinus blockages.
First stop was Gold Coast Scuba to purchase another steel tank for me. Happy Mother’s Day! Much needed so we do not have to do fills between every dive.
First thing I noticed was the expansion. No more tiny room up front. The whole space had been opened up to allow for more dive gear to be sold. I would say 3 times the shop frontage they had before. Steve also took us next door to the new classroom facilities they have for Padi classes. I have to say, I am so super pleased when I see the little guy doing good. Honest people, honest prices and good customer service is really paying off for steve, Brian, Dave and the gang there.
After loading up, we headed to check in to Santa Barbara to unpack and gear up. First dive we hit the water about 11am. easy ebtry, no waves, no ledge dropoff, no other divers, no current to fight. Rich and I took our time getting fins, mask sorted, checked equipment for any leaks and headed out to the rubble reef. I am a lazy diver. Got out about 200 feet and dropped right about on the cannon there. The shipwreck snorkel trail, an artificial reef, is one block south of Commercial directly off Datura Avenue. It is about 200 feet offshore in 12 to 15 feet of water. Look for a swim buoy. The trail is just past the buoy and a little south. There are concrete cannons and a ballast pile. When you stand at the beach entrance at Datura Street, look east and you will see a white buoy. The snorkel trail is 150 feet east and 150 feet south of the buoy. All of the shipwreck artifacts are located within a 100′ x 20′ area. I noticed only one buoy was in the water, not sure what happened to the 5 we usually see.
It was a leisurely swim, viz was about 30 feet but there was alot of whale we call “whale snot” in the water floating around the first rubble reef, cheese section.
We swam up on the biorock project. Finally some natural growth of seagrasses and smaller corals on the structure. They have also transplanted some live coral chunks and attached them with wire to the rebar structure.
Now this is what it looks like…
Next we swam out to what i refer to as the first reel reef, but what many call the second reef. Larger reef structures, larger fish, more lobsters. It was not lobster season but MAN they were everywhere! Nice big, healthy ones. Saw a few mama’s with tails curled up. Most were in packs of 4-8 that we saw. Can’t wait to do my Michigan trip and then hit mini season when I am back!
Hogfish, blennies, grunts, several types of good size grouper, small tarpon, trumpetfish, the usual stonefish, French and Queen angels plus some new unusual suspects we have never seen before that I will write more on later.
Tons of free swimming moray eels, enormous monsters!
Massively enjoyable and I felt my inner MERMAID poke her head up in the water again.
Will post more later about the huge lionfish we saw!