21 September 2014

Diving on Sea Pup Diver out of Riviera Beach

For Sunday, I booked a 3-tank dive trip on Sea Pup Diver with Captain Dustin McCabe and his wife/deckhand Kristy McCabe. Darryn Timm and his friends, Leo Paez and Dmitry Titov could not make these dives, but the four Canadians and I were joined by Laila Haddad, who has previously dived with us.

Our first dive was on the Princess Anne, a 350 feet car ferry used to carry 800 people and some 200 automobiles across the Chesapeake Bay before coming to Florida. Gina, our divemaster, was not able to tie the ball to the wreck, so we had to hot drop on the wreck. Captain Dustin set us down a bit to the East. I was on the Western edge of the group and could see something to the West, but I wasn't sure if it was the wreck or not until I saw two Goliath Groupers head towards it.  I tried to signal to the others, but then Gary spotted it too, so I went to the wreck, emphasis on wreck.  Not much structure left standing. We saw several Goliath Grouper, but not as many as I had expected from our 2013 dive on The Caster.  I got separated from the group, and was fussing with the SMB when Laila came by and showed me hers was already deployed.  I put mine away, but took my eyes off the group as I did so. They were a little above me and apparently in a swifter current because when I looked back up, they were gone.  I deployed mine again and shared it with Jackie, a young spearfisheress and we surfaced together. My maximum depth was 91 feet; Dive Time was 39 minutes; SAC rate was 15.24 psi/minute and the RVM was 0.39 ft3/minute.

Our second dive was on the Governor's River Walk Reef: a group of 4 vessels turned over to the Palm Beach County’s Artificial Reef Program by US Customs as part of Operation River Walk, a program to eliminate drug smuggling operations on the Miami River. Gena lead this dive carrying a large ball.  We went to a large wreck, first, the ShaSha Boekanie, which was on its side but still had structure.  Then a small wreck called the St. Jacques. Then past the Thozina and finally to the Gilbert Sea.  Saw a Hawksbill Turtle and a Spotted Moray Eel.  Went up with Gina and did not deploy my SMB.  Maximum depth was 91 feet; Dive Time was 39 minutes; SAC rate was 15.24 psi/minute; and my RMV was 0.39 ft3/minute.

The third dive was on the Mizpah Corridor: The Mizpah, The PC1170, and the Amaryllis that line up to form an amazing 1700 foot drift dive. Again, Gina lead the dive and carried the ball. It was a pleasant dive in about 80-85 feet. This time, Laila and I got separated from the group and I deployed my SMB.  I dropped the finger spool, however, while trying to deflate the sausage at the end of the dive and, fortunately, Laila caught it before it completely unspooled. Trickey. Dive Time was 43 minutes; SAC rate was 13.72 psi/minute and the RVM was 0.35 ft3/minute.  

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