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January 2012



– A Living Art Gallery

ALABAMA Sweet Home Diving

SAINT SoMewHere 9 Saintly Dive Destinations

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◄ Cover by Andreas Franke


Southeast Dive News

The complete resource for diving in the Southeast.

Publisher / Editor-in-Chief Rick Stratton Production Manager IJ James Graphic Designer TJ Pierzchala Expo Coordinator Selene Muldowney Accounts Manager Tove Chatham Advertising Sales Manager Keath Allen (360) 240-1874 x105 Circulation/subscriptions


Dive News Magazine is committed to promoting the sport of scuba diving in the Southeast. We will present a practical, unbiased point of view regarding all aspects of the sport of scuba diving. The Dive News Magazine believes in honesty and integrity in business and will support all efforts related to this. We encourage readers to participate in determining the content of this publication by giving us their opinions on the types of articles they would like to see. We invite letters to the editor, manuscripts and photographs related to diving or diving-related business. Send us your stories and photos! IMPORTANT NOTICE The Dive News Magazine reserves the right to refuse service to anyone. The contents of Southeast Dive News are opinions of individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, editor or its staff. The publishers and contributors assume no responsibility for any mishap claimed to be a result of use of this material. Diving is an adventure sport containing inherent risks. Improper use of diving equipment or diving techniques may result in serious injury or death. Readers are advised to use their best judgment in each individual situation. MOVING? In order to continue receiving your magazine uninterrupted, please notify Southeast Dive News when you change your mailing address. To ensure uninterrupted service, please contact us six to eight weeks before the change of address occurs. You can call us at 360-240-1874 PST or email us at or mail at: Bedrock Publications P.O. Box 1494 Oak Harbor, WA 98277

Monthly Columns

ndreas Franke is one of the most respected advertising photographers in the world. Some of his clients include Ben & Jerry’s, Coca Cola, Ford and Nike. Additional to his commercial work, Andreas has worked on several personal projects including his current exhibit on the USS Vandenberg. “Life Below The Surface” is his freshest and most sensational. Andreas Franke said of his work, “In my photography I try to construct illusionistic worlds. I like to see things from a different angle and I try to create new kind of views. Thereby taking images of a sunken ship and bringing life back to the ship by filling these images with stories was always very interesting for me.”

Publisher’s Note.................................4 Incoming Mail.....................................5 Southeast Hot News..........................6 Southeast Activities............................7

SUDS.................................................8 Richard Hartley Obit........................... 9 Tropical Dive Directory................20-21 Local Dive Directory....................22-23

lOCAL dIVE dESTINATION 10 USS Vandenberg: A Living Art Gallery

Andreas Franke, renowned artist and diver, visited the Vandenberg for a dive no one could have guessed the outcome. Franke saw his photos and envisioned stories of people who would play their stories out on the retired ship turned artificial reef. August 2011 the underwater art gallery opened with the title “Life below the Surface”. We are lucky enough to be able to share a few of these photos with our readers, and even luckier to share the story of how this amazing art show came together. By Rick Stratton

12 Diving the Vandenberg: a Wreck to Dive for

Plunging into the clear, warm, sub-tropical waters and descending through a cloud of bubbles we were thrilled to see the signature satellite dishes tilted at odd angles along the top of this pristine shipwreck. Mike was one of the first 3-man dive team to ever see the wreck of the USNS Vandenberg after she slipped beneath the surface. Returning to the wreck, we learn she holds more allure and interest for divers of every level now than she did then. By Mike Ange

SOUTHEAST dESTINATION 14 Alabama: Sweet Home Diving

From spearfishing to wrecks like the Oriskany, Alabama boasts diving that can’t be beat. With 77,000 navigatable miles of water, and winter water temps as low as 55 degrees, Alabama is definitely the state to dive into. From the 250 automobiles to the 100 M60 battle tanks, to the recent sinking of culverts, demolished bridge rubble, and liberty ships, there is a plethora of dives sites to explore. But where do the locals dive? By Mike Hughes

TROPICAL DESTINATIONS 18 St. Somewhere: 9 Saintly Dive Destinations

It’s an eye opening experience when you come face to face with painted animals such as the orange and white spotted Gaudy Clown Crab, Thor anemone shrimp, or the purple and white spotted anemone shrimp. The Caribbean diving encompasses more than the incredible creatures and sometimes you need a broad view before you pick just one of these amazing dive destinations. Whether your favorite dive fetish is wall dives, wreck dives, photography, boat dives, or pristine shore dives, one of these saintly islands should not only satisfy your diving needs, but it’s probably calling out to you right now. By Mike Hughes

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pay $150 per day for his charters. Once properly taught, they spear lionfish on these trips. He buys the fish from his customers for $5 each-usually providing $50-100 back to each of his customers per trip. He then sells the fish to some very supportive restaurants located down the breakwater. According to Victor, this is a great win-win. “We created this program with a two fold objective; to make diving “I have written myself more affordable and get more peopaychecks, eaten great ple diving to help control the lionmeals and filled the fish population,” Victor says. “The boat with fuel, so my result has been fantastic. I have customers can dive for written myself paychecks, eaten free.” Pretty cool huh! great meals and filled the boat with fuel, so my customers can dive for Victor Dupuis free.” Pretty cool huh! Lowcountry Scuba We applaud the efforts of VicMt. Pleasant, NC tor and similar minded business owners and managers who are coming up with creative and innovative ways to stay strong and customer friendly in this economy. We know with these people in our industry we are in good company. From our dive family to yours, have a happy new year and we’ll see you out diving in 2012.


elcome to the January edition of Southeast Dive News. As always, we have worked hard on this edition filling it up with information designed to help you become more active in the sport; locally where it really matters. New Year’s is about new beginnings and we are hopeful and optimistic about what 2012 will bring. I am expecting good things and good fortunes this year. We are working hard to create ever-increasing value for our readership and supporters this year. It has been a lot of hard work but the hard work is beginning to pay off. This year we are doing a lot of new things. Our online edition is growing fast. By offering ALL of our content online each month, we can offer instant access to the dive information and update it almost instantly. We are also expanding our E-reader with a larger and more comprehensive software upgrade. The new magazine online will incorporate embedded video and better links to other businesses for our readers and supporters. Our physical edition will have this entire content link with QR codes and Smart Tags so those readers can get the digital content on their phones – creating a true hybrid product. In all, it will be a better magazine and better reading experience – coming soon to a magazine near you… Realizing we are not the only ones innovating, we looked around for similar minded business owners. People who are working hard and have a positive attitude; who are proactively dealing with today’s economy going out and finding business wherever and whenever opportunity presents itself. Victor Dupuis from Low County Scuba is right on track. Located in Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina just outside of Charleston, Victor has responded to the great recession and lionfish invasion by creating and leading lionfish hunting expeditions and barbecues. Buying his own boat, he put trips of people together who

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You read that right. For a limited time, you can get our brandnew online Nitrox Diver I course — normally $79.95 — absolutely free. All you pay for is your dive shop’s or instructor’s normal fee for the single classroom session and any optional open-water training dives. Here’s what you do: ■ Take this ad to your local NASE dive shop or instructor. Don’t know who that is? Find out at ■ Don’t have a local NASE dive shop or instructor? No problem. Take this ad to your favorite dive shop and have them call 1-888-903-NASE (6273) to find out how easily you can take the next step. 4


CheCk out our NeW Website: WWW.diveNeWsNetWork.Com

letter to the editor

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Dear rick,

seen our


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I love your hot news, it’s phenomenal! Every month is something relevant. And not to keep complimenting here, but your activities listing provides me with plenty of ideas to help me stay active. There’s a problem here though, I’m in charge of a local dive group (we are not a club), and I need to know how to get our event listed? Do I have to pay to be included in your hot news section? What if I want to submit a dive site review, will I get it printed even though I’m an amateur? Thanks for all your hard work compiling this info for us! Curious George





Dec 1: ive aCtivi p.m., Cap Caloosa Dive Club ties Dec 21: Sun e meeting, 8 coast Reef Nokomis FL. www.d Coral Yacht Club, Rovers, 6 Cape Coral, Co p.m., www.sunc mmunity Center, Dec 1: oastreefrov Venice, FL p.m., JupiterJupiter Drift Divers . De c 22: Sin meeting, 7 k or Swim Meetup, 7 Jupiter, FL Fire Station Comm Scuba unity p.m . www.jupite rdriftdivers.c Room, com/Sink-O ., Gastonia, NC. ww Divers Dec 1: Sar r-Swim-Sc om asota Scu 7:30 p.m., uba-Diver w.meetup. De ba c Clu 22: Bubbl s/ b meeting, Fra Monthly Me Sarasota, FL ternal Order of es up Jac Police Ha . www.sara ksonville ll, Discussio mber Meeting and sotascuba Dec 3: n, Future Div e 7:00 p.m., see site 3pm, East Atlanta Underwater neW ch for Atl bblesupjacks location. GA. www.d anta Library BranchExplorers, Jan Ren’s bo Photos ild ive onv ua , aue Atl ille Ry anta, and stoRy ok shaRes Dec 6: Fan .org conseRvati Jan . ta-S of ocean 7-9 p.m 3: on 7-9 p.m., FanFanta-Seas Dive Clu ., Fanta-Seaseas Dive Club meetin A newly b meeting, g, ta-Seas Div Divers, 140 Rd., Ste. released boo underwate 750 ers, 1400 0 Eatonton Rd., Ste. 750 k by r Eatonton , Madison, GA. , Madison, GA. shares wit photographer Bev renowned www.fanta m erly Factor h www.fanta m Dec 6: Orl the need for young readers a me Jan. 3: Orl ssa p.m., Paddy ando Reef Divers and titled “Ange ocean conservation ge about meeting, 7 p.m., Paddy Mu o Reef Divers me Murphy’s, . lee The ww etin Saves the rphy’s, Bal Baldwin Par w.meetup. hardcover Sea,” is a 40-book com/Orlan dwin Park, g, 7 k, up. FL featuring com . doDec 7: Na page Factor’s orig color pho Jan. 4: Na /Orlando-Reef-Dive FL. utical Nudis Reef-Divers/ tography Clu ina utic rs/ l b, al ts Dive & full 7 p.m., Ch throughout images run Boating Club, 7 p.m., Ch Nudists Dive & Bo eck Websi , wit nin Land ‘O ating eck Websi te for Land natural bea g full page to hig h most Lakes, FL uty of the hlight the com . www.naut location, com ‘O Lakes, FL. ww te for location, ments. Fac underwate icalnudist. w.nauticalnu tor r Dec 7: dist. who intends tells the story of an environJan. 4: Sou Angelfish, 7:30 p.m., South Florida Divers th Flo 7:3 tion and des to save the ocean rida 0 Divers me fro Hollywood Lauderdale Isles Yac meeting, Ho p.m., Lauderdale eting, create a pic truction. Angelee’s m pollullywood, FL , FL. www.s Isle ht Club, ture book wit plan is to . www.sfdi. s Yacht Club, De c the friends 13: h Jan photograp com . 5: Caloos she Club, 7 pm Atlanta Reef Dwelle a Dive p.m., the seas. 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For more info y, LA. ww s iter, FL. ww e Station Communi visit www. w. ty w.ju Dec 13: Jan. 5: Sar piterdriftdivers.c Room, Sou th Photograp om Florida Un aso hy derwater 7:30 p.m., Fratern ta Scuba Club me JanuaRy su Hotel, Miam Society, 7:30 p.m eting, al Order of Rf exPo Ge Sarasota, FL ., El Palaci i, FL. www.s Surf Exp Police . ww aRin o Dec 13: Jan. 5: Un w.sarasotascubaclu Hall, 14, 2012 in o scheduled for Jan G uP p.m., Beef Waterloggers Dive b.o der Sea O’Bradys, Club, 6:30 Club, 7 p.m., Adveturers rg from specia Orlando, Florida, dra uary 12Bes sea Me lev Div t lbourne, FL ws buyers Western Ho Caribbean lty stores across the . www. Beach, FL. www.u m tel, Deerfi e , Central and De sad U.S eld c 13: ., the Jan.7: around the South Am Club me Clearwater Hogs world. erica and 3pm, East Atlanta Underwater Spearfishi eting, 7 Surf Exp Atlant Exp ng p.m Dunedin, FL. Call Car ., Ocean Sports, GA. www.dive a Library Branch lorers, booths of o features approxima , Atlanta, 4672 l Nelson (72 apparel and tely 2,000 Jan. 10: line-up of 7) 515har Atlanta Ree special eve dgoods and a full Dec 14: Bay Clu b, 7 pm f Dwelle nars, fashio nts, includ Area Meeting, 7 n Atlanta, GA , Hudson Grill @ Bro rs Scuba p.m., Pssghe Reef Runners Clu nies, and demshows, annual award ing semi. www.atlan okhaven, b Genny Do s ceremoos. tare naldson (72 tti’s, Clearwater, FL Jan. 10: Average Sea Tigers . Ro 7) 365-6172 Dec 15: usse Trim Spearfishi ceeds 12,000buyer and exhibitor ng Club, p.m., Cap Caloosa Dive Club & Stairs, turnout exattendees sea e Ha tige me Co rvey, LA. exhibitors rs.u etin ral including s g, Yacht Clu FL. www.d and media www. retailers, b, Cape Co 8 ive Jan per clu . b.o show. 10: Sou No matter ral, rg Dec 15: th Florida Photograp what the Surf Expo KSC Bar hy Underwater market meeting, is racuda Div Hotel, Miam Society, 7:30 p.m est produc your one-stop place category, ., El Palaci i, FL Library, Ke 6:30 p.m., Merrit e Club t and for the lato Jan. 10: Wa . nne t dy Isla Categories hottest trends. Spa nd kscbarrac ce Center, include: Bo FL. www. p.m., Beef O’B terloggers Dive Clu Skate, Wa ardspo b, radys, Me keb Dec 19: sealevelsc lbourne, FL 6:30 & Windsurf oard & Waterski, rts (Surf, 6:30-7:30 Sea Turtle Dive Clu . www. p.m Jan. 16: Sea m b Beach Res , Stand Up Paddle Kiteboard GA. www.s ., Jasper Dive Cen meeting, 6:3 , Freedive) ort; Fashio Tur tle Div 0-7 eaturtledive ter, Jasper ; n (Boutique, Registratio , GA :30 p.m., Jasper Div e Club meeting, Dec 20: Swim). n is . now ope Monthly Me Atlanta Aquanaut urtlediveclu e Center, Jasper, n. s w w w. s u r Visit in Paradise, eting, 7:00 p.m., Ch Northside f ees com for mo e x p o . Atlanta-AquaAtlanta, GA. www.m eburger re nauts/ tails and / reg Dec 20: istration info 7 p.m., Pad Orlando Reef Div rers dy meeting, mation. Murphy’s , Baldwin Park, FL We run inf lando-Ree . Dec 21: o f-D events for about your news and 7 p.m., De Central Florida Pleasu ivers/ fre nny calendar and e! Help us build the www.cfpdive ’s Restaurant, Orl re Divers, We supp support loc and rs.c o, FL. om . al diving ort Lo today by

Dear GeOrGe,

Thank you for the kudos! We work hard and we appreciate you noticing! It’s all free! We love sharing events, news, parties, dive site reviews and anything else you have to say with our readers. To get your event listed, you can email us ( or you can give us a call (360) 240-1874. A few things to mention, the sooner you get us your information the better. We ask for a minimum of 6 weeks advance notice. For example, if your event is April 5, we would want to know details at the beginning of February so we can get you in both the March and April editions with our events page. If you have hot news to share, send it to us. You don’t have to pay to be included, just have something newsworthy to share! Send us a press release, send us something you read, or call us to share info about your latest dive. Also, you don’t have to be a writer to be published. We are happy to Send uS yo ur your even print your news or dive site review. Our team of writers is available to help tS! you put together your thoughts. We will take your draft versions and edit CaL dive rs - LoCa them with your approval. I keep a recorder on my desk and can take an L divers support the iNdu stry. interview over the phone about a dive you feel was particularly cool. While we don’t always have space in the printed edition of the magazine, we always have space online to share what’s coming up. Our mission is to promote diving locally, and any news/ event which can help fulfill this mission can be shared, and we will find a way to share it! Thanks again for the kudos, and let us know when your next dive group dive happens! emailing: newsnetwo




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Lake JOcassee Dive shOP ramP TO reOPen sOOn

The divers’ ramp at Lake Jocassee has been closed for repairs. However, the Lake Jocassee Dive Shop is looking forward to the ramp opening for the beginning of the New Year. The ramps are being repaired and a walkway will be added for easy entry/exit for divers. When it is completed, divers will notice a much cleaner and safer “divers’ ramp”. For more info visit

DOWn unDer Dive shOP GraDuaTes neW PaDi insTrucTOrs Down Under Dive Shop in Alabama would like to congratulate Lila Harris and Jason Kuczek upon thier graduation from PADI Instructor school. For more info visit

Dive sPeciaLisT sheri Daye JOins surF eXPO Team

Avid freediver and spearfisher Sheri Daye has joined the Surf Expo Team as a sales account executive to expand and enhance the Dive section of the January 2012 show. In addition to hosting “Speargun Hunter,” a popular TV series on the Outdoor Channel, Daye holds more than a dozen world records and a women’s National Championship title. Her passion for the industry and extensive experience will add to Surf Expo’s mission to promote the Dive industry to its watersports markets. For more info visit

Dema TO sPOnsOr “Dive in Day” aT FLOriDa caPiTOL

DEMA will sponsor “Dive in Day at the Capitol” for Florida-based DEMA member businesses to help increase positive awareness for the diving industry with important legislators. Florida is one of diving’s most crucial bellwether states, with the second largest number of new divers each year and the largest number of DEMA-Member businesses. Dive in Day will take place Tuesday, Jan. 10 at the Capitol grounds in Tallahassee, the opening day for the 2012 legislative session in Florida. Those Florida-based DEMA Member businesses interested in participating should contact Angela Pico at or (850) 222-0720. For more info visit

reTireD marine makes hisTOric sWim acrOss mississiPPi river

Jay Platt, a retired U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant, swam 1.88 miles across the Mississippi River in handcuffs and shackles, while blindfolded, becoming the only person to have ever done so. He did it to raise money and awareness for injured and wounded service personnel. Platt, who is one of three men to swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco with his hands and feet bound did the swim as a way of showing that anything is possible. For more info visit www. 6

eXPLOre The sOuTheasT marine sancTuaries WiTh Jean-micheL cOusTeau

Ocean Futures Society is proud to offer autographed copies of their new four-book series, “Explore the National Marine Sanctuaries with Jean-Michel Cousteau”. Copies of the first book, in the 4-book series about America’s Underwater Treasures, are shipping now. JeanMichel Cousteau’s deep commitment to the National Marine Sanctuary Program stems from understanding how important the sanctuaries are as a means of protecting the nation’s natural, historic and cultural heritage. Like national parks and wildlife management areas on land, marine sanctuaries safeguard healthy systems and help restore those that have been harmed. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Ocean Futures Society. For more info visit store/special-edition-books/explore-book-series.

scuba Divers in The FLOriDa keys cLean uP WaTers

A Deep Blue Dive Center in Key Colony Beach, FL participated in Ocean Conservancy’s 26th Annual Underwater Cleanup this year. This is the eighth year A Deep Blue Dive Center has volunteered to clean the trash beneath the surface. This year the Thunderbolt Wreck offshore of Marathon, Florida was where the cleanup took place. Two teams of volunteer divers completed four dives to clean up fishing debris off the wreck. For more info visit

cave DivinG FiLm Wins emmy

Becky Kagan Schott and David Schott, owners of Liquid Productions, LLC, have won an Emmy Award in the “Feature News Report” category of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The winning film was shot for CBS on the Eagles Nest Cave in Florida. For more info visit

sinGLe Divers invaDe rOaTan

In a first-of-its-kind event, 60 scuba divers went to Roatan, Honduras for the annual Pirates Week. Hosted at the Henry Morgan Resort, divers were split into three different groups that boarded dive boats each day to explore the local reefs, wrecks and interact with the island’s diverse marine creatures. During the week, more than 50 lionfish were speared – include 20 on one single dive – and brought to shore. has members throughout the United States. The 60 participants at Pirate’s Week came from such diverse places as Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, Texas, and Florida. For more info visit

PrOJecT aWare FOunDaTiOn shark PrOTecTiOn eFFOrTs are makinG a DiFFerence.

Two important steps for sharks have been taken as a result of hard work spreading the word and petition signing! November 22, the European Commission announced the long awaited proposal for closing the loopholes in the European Union’s ban on shark finning. The European Union has become a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Sharks. These are important steps in Project AWARE’s work to protect threatened and vulnerable shark species. For more info visit

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Oceans Discovery Team Launches First Ever Shark Route

Oceans Discovery has launched the first ever shark route along the coasts of Southern Africa; home to diverse and abundant shark populations and some of the most incredible ocean ecosystems the world has to offer. Shark experts recognize the importance of shark diving ecotourism as one of the most powerful tools available to aid in the conservation of the world’s threatened shark species. Oceans Discovery is a collaboration of a unique group of divers, tour guides, scientists, conservationists, and shark professionals who have teamed up with a mission to pioneer unique shark diving expeditions that introduce humans to the world’s most remarkable species of sharks in an exciting but educational and respectful manner. For more info on the Shark Route, visit


Jan. 3: Fanta-Seas Dive Club meeting, 7-9 p.m., Fanta-Seas Divers, 1400 Eatonton Rd., Ste. 750, Madison, GA. Jan. 3: Orlando Reef Divers meeting, 7 p.m., Paddy Murphy’s, Baldwin Park, FL. Jan. 4: Nautical Nudists Dive & Boating Club, 7 p.m., Check Website for location, Land ‘O Lakes, FL. www. Jan. 4: South Florida Divers meeting, 7:30 p.m., Lauderdale Isles Yacht Club, Hollywood, FL. Jan. 5: Caloosa Dive Club meeting, 8 p.m., Cape Coral Yacht Club, Cape Coral, FL. Jan. 5: Jupiter Drift Divers meeting, 7 p.m., Jupiter Fire Station Community Room, Jupiter, FL. www.jupiterdriftdivers. com Jan. 5: Sarasota Scuba Club meeting, 7:30 p.m., Fraternal Order of Police Hall, Sarasota, FL.

Jan. 5: Under Sea Adveturers Dive Club, 7 p.m., Best Western Hotel, Deerfield Beach, FL. Jan.7: Atlanta Underwater Explorers, 3pm, East Atlanta Library Branch, Atlanta, GA. Jan. 10: Atlanta Reef Dwellers Scuba Club, 7 pm, Hudson Grill @ Brookhaven, Atlanta, GA. Jan. 10: Sea Tigers Spearfishing Club, Rousse Trim & Stairs, Harvey, LA. www. Jan. 10: South Florida Underwater Photography Society, 7:30 p.m., El Palacio Hotel, Miami, FL. Jan. 10: Waterloggers Dive Club, 6:30 p.m., Beef O’Bradys, Melbourne, FL. www. Jan. 16: Sea Turtle Dive Club meeting, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Jasper Dive Center, Jasper, GA. Jan. 17: Atlanta Aquanauts Northside Monthly Meeting, 7:00 p.m., Cheeseburger in Paradise, Atlanta, GA. Atlanta-Aquanauts/ Jan. 17: Orlando Reef Divers meeting, 7 p.m., Paddy Murphy’s, Baldwin Park, FL. Jan. 18: Central Florida Pleasure Divers, 7 p.m., Denny’s Restaurant, Orlando, FL. Jan. 18: Suncoast Reef Rovers, 6 p.m., Nokomis Community Center, Venice, FL. Jan. 19: Caloosa Dive Club meeting, 8 p.m., Cape Coral Yacht Club, Cape Coral, FL. Jan. 19: KSC Barracuda Dive Club meeting, 6:30 p.m., Merritt Island Library, Kennedy Space Center, FL. www. Jan. 24-26: Underwater Intervention, Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA. Jan. 26: Sink or Swim Scuba Divers Meetup, 7 p.m., Gastonia, NC. www.meetup. com/Sink-Or-Swim-Scuba-Divers/ Jan. 26: Bubbles up Jacksonville Monthly Member Meeting and Future Dive Discussion, 7:00 p.m., see site for location.


Feb. 1: Nautical Nudists Dive & Boating Club, 7 p.m., Check Website for location, Land ‘O Lakes, FL. www.nauticalnudist. com Feb. 1: South Florida Divers meeting, 7:30 p.m., Lauderdale Isles Yacht Club, Hollywood, FL. Feb. 2: Caloosa Dive Club meeting, 8 p.m., Cape Coral Yacht Club, Cape Coral, FL. Feb. 2: Jupiter Drift Divers meeting, 7 p.m., Jupiter Fire Station Community Room, Jupiter, FL.

DIVE ACTIVITIES Feb. 2: Sarasota Scuba Club meeting, 7:30 p.m., Fraternal Order of Police Hall, Sarasota, FL. Feb. 4: Atlanta Underwater Explorers, 3pm, East Atlanta Library Branch, Atlanta, GA. Feb. 7: Fanta-Seas Dive Club meeting, 7-9 p.m., Fanta-Seas Divers, 1400 Eatonton Rd., Ste. 750, Madison, GA. Feb. 7: Orlando Reef Divers meeting, 7 p.m., Paddy Murphy’s, Baldwin Park, FL. Feb. 14: Atlanta Reef Dwellers Scuba Club, 7 pm, Hudson Grill @ Brookhaven, Atlanta, GA. Feb. 14: Sea Tigers Spearfishing Club, Rousse Trim & Stairs, Harvey, LA. www. Feb. 14: South Florida Underwater Photography Society, 7:30 p.m., El Palacio Hotel, Miami, FL. Feb. 14: Waterloggers Dive Club, 6:30 p.m., Beef O’Bradys, Melbourne, FL. www. Feb. 15: Central Florida Pleasure Divers, 7 p.m., Denny’s Restaurant, Orlando, FL. Feb. 15: Suncoast Reef Rovers, 6 p.m., Nokomis Community Center, Venice, FL. Feb. 16: Caloosa Dive Club meeting, 8 p.m., Cape Coral Yacht Club, Cape Coral, FL. Feb. 16: KSC Barracuda Dive Club meeting, 6:30 p.m., Merritt Island Library, Kennedy Space Center, FL. www. Feb. 20: Sea Turtle Dive Club meeting, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Jasper Dive Center, Jasper, GA. Feb. 21: Atlanta Aquanauts Northside Monthly Meeting, 7:00 p.m., Cheeseburger in Paradise, Atlanta, GA. Atlanta-Aquanauts/ Feb. 21: Orlando Reef Divers meeting, 7 p.m., Paddy Murphy’s, Baldwin Park, FL. Feb. 23: Bubbles up Jacksonville Monthly Member Meeting and Future Dive Discussion, 7:00 p.m., see site for location.

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hey say it is often tough for soldiers to return home from war but it can be even tougher if the solider is injured. These days the United States is seeing more and more wounded soldiers coming home and, although there are a number of agencies and groups attempting to help, one group is using weightlessness to help by taking soldiers into the realm of diving. The program is SUDS, which stands for Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba, and is helping wounded soldiers by offering scuba diving training as a form of aquatic therapy. The nonprofit program began in 2007 as a chapter of the Disabled Sports USA group and has been growing ever since. SUDS have given out over 200 open water dive certifications to injured veterans allowing those vets to regain some sense of normal by being able to experience scuba diving. The program helps soldiers with injuries ranging from head trauma and amputations to post traumatic syndrome cases. According to founder, John Thompson, the program provides challenges allowing the injured soldier to feel a sense of accomplishment. “The program offers folks the chance to be active again even though they may have an amputation or a severe head injury,” Thompson says. “The weightlessness of the water makes it easier for soldiers

to regain movement even though they may have lost a limb. It evens the playing field for these men and women.” SUDS scuba classes are offered at a number of dive shops as well as at Walter Reed Medical Center. The training can be done in a pool which is a safe environment. Dive shops are beginning to really get involved, case in point is the Adventure Scuba Company in Key Largo, Florida. The crew at ASC has been involved with the program for over 4 years now and they truly enjoy giving back to the men and women who protect their homeland. The owners have donated time, money and even equipment to help SUDS along. After a soldier has achieved certification there is nothing stopping him/her to moving on to diving in lakes, rivers and even the ocean. “This is a sport that these soldiers can still do,” Thompson says. “It gives many of them a sense of having something new that they can still do athletically.” Lately SUDS has been getting a lot of attention from the national media. The Today Show on NBC did a segment on SUDS just last month and more and more media outlets are discovering the good work SUDS is doing. Thompson hopes to see SUDS continue to grow and people continue to get involved. “It’s the most reward-

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ing project I have ever been involved in,” Thompson said. Thompson describes water as the great equalizer. “Many things are just easier to do in the water with these types of injuries. Its part rehabilitation, part confidence building, part adventure for these wounded warriors and it works. I’m really inspired by the injured veterans at Walter Reed,” Thompson said. Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba (SUDS) at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD is designed to help improve the lives of injured veterans returning from Iraq & Afghanistan. If you are interested you can now sponsor a soldier by sending in donations to SUDS Diving, Inc. / PO Box 2504 / Beaufort, NC 28516. For more info on the program visit ■

locally owned & operated 1019 Harker’s Island Rd. Beaufort, NC 28516


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ichard Hartley, aka “The Commander”, passed away unexpectedly on November 2, 2011 from natural causes. The Commander was one of the most amazing and respected people in the dive industry and will be missed by many divers throughout the world. Richard entered his Basic Diver training when he was in the army and soon earned the BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club) 3rd Class Diver, BSAC 2nd Class Diver and BSAC Advanced ratings. He was an airborne officer in the British Army and left a career in the aerospace industry to pursue his passion for teaching others to dive. Richard made the Middle East his home and it quickly led him to become the Diving Officer for Dhofar Divers and Muscat Divers. He became a PADI instructor in 1990 and moved to the Caribbean where he worked in Antiqua, Saint Maarten, Club Med Mexico and then Grand Bahamas Island as the Dive Operations Manager for UNEXSCO until 1995. He was certified as a PADI Course Director in 1995 and became Director of Training with Pro Dive in Fort Lauderdale, FL. In over 16 years he has trained Photo courtesy thousands of students to be InRichard Hartley Facebook structors and been responsible for starting the successful scuba careers of countless individuals. His love of technical diving saw him become qualified as a Technical Instructor Trainer, Rebreather Instructor Trainer and he qualified over 8000 divers and Instructors. Richard held Instructor ratings with PADI, NAUI, TDI, IANTD, BSAC, DAN, DSAT and CMAS. Numerous dive industry leaders, who have trained an international legion of Instructors over the past decade, refer to The Commander’s “pass it on” philosophy, which can literally be found around the world, both above and below the water. “He adhered to a strict set of standards and could often be relied on for his exhaustive wealth of diving knowledge” said former colleague and Course Director Jim Brandt. “The Commander has inspired and motivat-

ed countless number of divers over the years”. When a number of instructors, divers, and former students were asked what they remembered most about The Commander they overwhelmingly remembered this quote, which he traditionally used to address his new Instructors, “Here’s to us, them like us and those that want to be us”. For the last 18 months Richard had rejoined his old friend and colleague, Bill Cole to become Director of Training at Sea Experience in the Bahia Mar in Fort Lauderdale. Richard had come home to where it all started for him in 1995 and was excited to be doing what he loved the most, train instructors for a successful career in the scuba industry! He will be profoundly missed. RIP.

Richard Hartley Memorial Scholarship This scholarship was founded to commemorate the life and legacy of Richard Hartley, “The Commander” PADI Course Director and Head of Training at Sea Experience in Fort Lauderdale. Sea Experience will be offering a full scholarship for their Phase Two Program, Openwater Scuba Instructor, annually, to one candidate. Applicants must provide a personal biography including diving and teaching goals in the Scuba Industry. It should also include reasons for financial need in order to continue their goals in the diving industry. Two letters of recommendation from adults who know you in a professional capacity in diving which would include an employer or an Instructor. A resume including your work experience, extracurricular activities, in regards to diving, and ocean and reef conservation and any other accomplishments you would deem merit consideration for this award by the selection committee. Recipient must have the credentials to enter the Phase Two Program within six months of being picked to receive this award. Proof of certification level is required. All applications must be received by March 31, 2012. Late applications will not be accepted. The winner will be announced May 6, 2012, Richard’s birthday. For information or to apply please contact Jayne Haas at

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uSS VANDeNBerG Becomes a Living Art Gallery T

he USS Vandenberg has had many purposes in its life, but has recently taken on a completely new purpose. After its successful sinking in May 2009, the Vandenberg is part transformative art gallery, part artificial reef thanks to efforts of Austrian artist, Andreas Franke. A year after Franke explored the Vandenberg, he developed an artistic concept which had never been done before. He saw his images, taken on his dive, filled with stories via people added to the deserted decks. His work became the world’s first underwater transformative art exhibit on an artificial reef. The grand ship had moved him. Now, his artwork is doing the same for divers from all over the world who come to explore the depths of the Vandenberg, because his artwork is being displayed on the popular artificial reef. In 2010, Franke did several dives and shot multiple pictures. This was the beginning of “Life below the Surface”, Franke concept of an underwater art gallery. When he returned home to Austria and examined the photos, Franke decided he wanted to add life to the ship. He says there was so much marine life around the ship it seemed natural to add people to his photos. Franke created composite images taking the photos he shot underwater and layering them with images of people he took in his studio. What developed were these otherworldly images appearing to make the ship come alive. After seeing what he had created, Franke took it one step further and requested the artwork be actually hung on the ship itself. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary agreed. In August 2011, the artwork was hung and divers can now benefit from a special experience. There are 12 images placed on the Vandenberg which was sunk 100 ft. below sea level approximately seven miles south of Key West. The photos show every day scenes from past times. The images are encased between sheets of Plexiglass with a stainless steel frame, and a silicone seal keeps out the water. The images are attached to the ship by strong magnets granting damage free removal after the exhibition ends. Captain Joe Weatherby, co-owner of Reef Makers, and instrumental in the sinking of the Vandenberg, worked for 12 years securing permits, raising money and preparing the ship for its May 2009 sinking. He met with Joanne Delaney, who handles permitting for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in order to help with the project. “I knew the permitting process for reefs,” says Weatherby. “I met with the Marine Sanctuary representatives in order to facilitate the process and discovered permits would be necessary if we were doing work on the ocean bottom.” Weatherby says the images were installed where all the dive boats and dive masters take their divers. Divers can easily pull themselves along the railing and see the exhibit,” Weatherby said. Weatherby encourages dive charter operators to take advantage of showing the exhibit to divers visiting the area. “It is a one of a kind exhibit and won’t be there forever.” For more info on the exhibit visit vandenberg/view/galery.php ■ 10

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Vandenberg awarded North America’s most prestigious Ecotourism Award The Vandenberg Artificial Reef has won North America’s most prestigious ecotourism award, the Society of American Travel Writers’ Phoenix Award. The award, which began in 1969, recognizes conservation, preservation, beautification and environmental accomplishments as they relate to travel. The Vandenberg project was among four North American tourism projects chosen. “The creation of the Vandenberg Reef is a profound example of how business, environmental and marine biology experts can work together to promote and maintain a valuable infrastructure that attracts tourists from around the world.” the Phoenix committee said. For more info visit

Surf Expo offers the best brands, best buyers, and best business-friendly venue for the watersports, resort and swim industries—all in one place, all at one time. Held January 12-14, 2012 in Orlando, Florida, Surf Expo offers seminars, demos, contests and 1,700 booths filled with the latest innovations and can’t-miss gear from the watersports, resort and swim industries.

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Artwork by Andreas Franke

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11/4/11 12:58 PM

floridA keYs

keY West dive site

DIVING THe VANDeNBerG Photo courtesy Mike Ange By Mike Ange


lunging into the clear, warm, sub-tropical waters and descending through a cloud of bubbles we were thrilled to see the signature satellite dishes tilted at odd angles along the top of this pristine shipwreck. The date was 27 May 2009 and the USNS Vandenberg had just been scuttled by the detonation of 42 high explosives charges only 15 minutes before our descent. As a part of the clearance dive teams, I was fortunate to be on the first 3-man dive team to ever see the wreck of the USNS Vandenberg after she slipped beneath the surface. Over 2 ½ years later, the wreck, laying in 45 m of sea water

(150 fsw), holds even more allure and interest for divers of every level now than it did then. With king post ascending to within 50 feet of the surface and significant superstructure in only 60 feet, this, the world’s second largest artificial reef, literally holds something for everyone. The wreck is bathed in the sub-tropical waters of the southern Florida Keys with temps ranging from the low 70s in winter to the high 80s in the summer. Vis averages between 50 and 100 plus feet depending on conditions. Currents on the site are variable and can make the dive a much more advanced endeavor,

but there are days when there is virtually no current at all. Open water and less experienced divers can complete a fantastic dive on this wreck without ever exceeding 60 feet. The mooring buoy attached just above the pilot house will deposit divers on a part of the superstructure equipped with a series of cut out plagues representing many of the donors who helped to sink the ship. Swimming toward the stern, the ship has a lot of relief harboring a vast collection of marine life. Barracuda, of course, swarm to this wreck as they do to all tropical wrecks, but you will also find a collection of reef fish owing to the close proximity of the wreck to the warm water reefs surrounding Key West. Angel fish, butterflies and yellow tail snapper are in vast supply. Large parrots and even, unfortunately, the occasional lion fish may also be seen on this wreck. If there is no current, it is a fairly simple swim past the ship’s signature satellite dishes aft, to the gaping hole of the balloon hanger. This massive room once launched weather balloons transporting sensor technology for the ship’s primary mission during its life as an Air Force ship doing missile tracking. Now, it is filled with thick schools of tropical fish who seek the shelter of its wide open spaces. If there is a current, you may have to slip slightly below 70 feet to stay along the ship’s structure and reach this part of the vessel.

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WreCk diviNg For the advanced diver, the first main deck can be reached at about 85 feet and this is the depth where the vast majority of the exterior of the ship can be seen. Just below this deck, there is a covered companion way on both sides of the ship stretching for about 70% of its length. At this level, you can circumnavigate the entire length of the 518 foot ship, providing you have the stamina and the gas supply. The ship has been significantly opened up to allow both marine life and divers to see inside, but it is still a shipwreck and many of the added openings are at or near the maximum recreational limit so trained divers must be extremely careful entering this ship and the untrained simply shouldn’t go. However, peering inside will reveal an even larger abundance of marine life and also some interesting structures. Perched atop the main deck is a square box like room nearly amid ship with a false floor. The decking is all but gone now and what remains is the support grid positioned to allow hundreds of heavy computer cables to be run to the various devices used to track missile launches, NASA’s first space shots, and other atmospheric wonders. On a bright sunny day with good vis, take the time to peer up from this position and see the light filtering through the satellite dishes which from below frequently look like giant bowls filled with schooling fish. In spite of the numerous cut and blown holes that were necessary for the ships sink plan, the wreck still has great potential for training limited and full penetration divers as well as great allure for those already certified. In only 105 feet of water, there are two companion ways to each side but inside the ship which provide a straight linear nearly 470 feet of penetration with a few exits along the way. This is the technical wreck instructor’s dream training location as the entire passageway creates a minor restriction and passes some of the key focal points to see in this wreck. Extending nearly 70 feet from top to bottom, the AMR space contains scaffolding, ladders and grids that seem to attract marine life like a magnet and that is just the beginning of where you can go inside the ship. There are several dive operators running nearly daily trips to the Vandenberg. Most will require a dive guide for divers that do not hold advanced certification. The guides are available on nearly every run at usually a very small cost which makes this dive still well worth the price. It is difficult to get support for technical diving in Key West, although this is rapidly changing. SubTropic Dive Center on Roosevelt has been purchased by new owners and will offer technical gases, technical charters, and full support for technical and CCR divers when it reopens in January as SEAduction of Key West. ■

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By Mike Hughes


labama is home to 77,000 navigatable miles of water which makes it second only to Alaska when it comes to looking for a site wet enough to dive in. If that isn’t enough, Alabama has 35 miles of white sand beaches and while the water may dip to 55° in the winter, it rises into the 80’s in the summer. Finally, Alabama was one of the first states to start


Sweet Home Diving

an artificial reef program, as early as 1953. From the 250 automobiles to the 100 M60 battle tanks in 1987, to the recent sinking of culverts, demolished bridge rubble, and liberty ships, there is a plethora of dive sites to explore. Rick Stratton and I asked some of the locals what their favorite sites were, and here are some of the answers we got: Forrest Phelps from Southern Skin Divers Supply in Birmingham, which started in 1953,

Dive Locally - Where It Really Matters

said it wasn’t so much his favorite sites, but his favorite types of diving. On the one hand, he enjoys artifact diving and he doesn’t care how murky the river gets, he is more interested in what the water holds. Forrest and his dive buddies have found 6-inch Megalodon shark teeth, Cobb spear points, coins, ceramic pots, jugs, and vintage bottles. The Selma area, in particular, has Civil War artifacts from 1865. On the other hand, Forrest is a big spearfishing enthusiast. Red snapper are huge in Alabama waters. It’s common to catch 15 to

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Dive Land

Park is a


West pAlm beACh

e Quarry

dipping to

150 ft. Ph

oto courte

sy Mike H


Photo courtesy Orange Beach

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AlAbAmA diviNg

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Madison Quarry. Photo courtesy Local Diving USA

25 lb fish. Forrest once caught a 29- and a 23-pounder in less than a minute on a dive. The limit is two fish, which means there was almost 53 lbs of fish total for just one dive. A catch like this is not surprising considering all the local artificial reefs. Statistically, 30 to 40 percent of all recreational red snapper are caught off the Alabama coast, and Alabama comprises only 5 percent of the northern Gulf of Mexico waters. Lawren McCaghren of Gulf Coast Divers in Mobile, which has been in business since 1972, also enjoys spearfishing, especially around the gas and oil rigs. Gulf Coast Divers also has 6-pack charter boats that routinely go out around Dauphin Island and Perdido Pass where you can dive pier pilings on the east side, and the jetty on the west side. One of Lawren’s favorite dives is to hunt for lobster in a large

Going Diving ? Go Here First ! 16

natural limestone reef area named Trysler Grounds. It’s about 20 miles south of Perdido Bay. You’ll find lots of soft corals here as well as spotted moray eels and lionfish. Dutch Banks is another local natural reef, but much smaller in size. Gary Emerson of Gary’s Gulf Divers in Orange Beach goes out to the Trysler Grounds on a 6-pack 30’ Hydrocat. Two other popular sites he goes to include the Oriskany, which is a 911 ft long, 150 ft wide, and 150 ft tall aircraft carrier sunk in 2006 in Florida’s waters. You can get there from Orange Beach by boat in about 1-½ hours or less. Along the way don’t be surprised to see turtles including leatherbacks leisurely floating on the surface. It’s 80 ft to the smoke stacks of the Oriskany, 120 ft to the bridge, and 145 ft to the flight deck. If you are a tech diver, the hangar bay is at 175 ft. If you are truly lucky, you may even see a whale shark while on this dive. The other popular dive is the Navy Tug. It’s only 85 ft deep and 80-100 ft long. The top of it was blown off during a hurricane, but with vis running 40-50 ft even when other sites are having a bad day of vis, this site still has lots of critters to view. Some suspects include grouper, amberjacks, angelfish, and more. Jim Mahan, an instructor at Down Under Dive Shop in Gulf Shores, has been diving since 1973. He says there are over 300 local dive sites, and it only takes two to three weeks after something is sunk before it is full life. He and the folks from Down Under Dive Shop have a 46’ Newton Dive

Special you can charter out to the local dive sites. The boat can take a max of 20 divers, hold 72 tanks, and has two camera tables as well as two dive ladders, just to name a few of the amenities. Some of the wrecks and artificial sites I won’t have room to mention include: Diving around the Tenslaw River Bridge, the I-10 Black River Bridge Rubble, The Hopper Barge, the 387 ft long wreck of the Antares, the Hugh Swingle General Permit Area and Don kelly North General Permit Area where most of the battle tanks are located. There is also the 105 tug, the 151 tug, the Mobil Oil Platform, the buffalo barges, the dry dock, uNOCAl #254, and last but not least there are three 441.6 ft long and 57 ft wide liberty ships nearby; the Allen, the Sparkman, and the Wallace. Did I name them all? Not even close. Before I forget, Gary Emerson also wanted me to mention one of the best shore dives, the Alabama Point Jetties. The area is only 15-35 ft deep, but if you go on a high tide to hold off the fresh river water, you can see 5 ft stingrays, Octos in the rocks, and mantis shrimp. On a night dive expect to find plenty of flounder resting on the sand and rock substratum. The Whiskey Wreck is 150 yards off shore in front of Bahama Bobs Restaurant on west beach in Gulf Shores. The wreck is 200 ft long and scattered in 300 square feet. Alabama Point Bridge and the Alabama Point Sea Wall are two other well-known shore dive locations. Lastly, there are a few lakes and water

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southeAst destiNAtioN filled quarries locals like to frequent and hang out with trout, sunfish, bluegill, carp, bass, and turtles. Quarries run seasonal hours so check availability and current fees before you go. The Madison Quarry is 55 ft deep max on 7 acres of water and contains a mock up wing from Skylab, an F4 Phantom jet, a Minuteman Missile, a Titan Missile Nose Cone, a fire truck, boats, etc. If all this isn’t enough, Britt Clark tells me they have a Greek Restaurant, run by Demetrius Dedes, that brings non-divers up here just for the food; typically open from May to September. Alabama Blue Water Adventures has a max depth of 150 ft and a 26 acre water field. Below water you’ll find a school bus, two 1940’s fire trucks, steel boxes, cars, and boats. Dive land Park is a picturesque quarry dipping down to 150 ft of depth and offers a navigation course and buoyancy rings. lake Martin offers dime size jellyfish in the summer and 80 lb catfish, but most of all, after the parties and concerts near Kowaliga Marina, divers go out in search of keys, rings, and cell phones . . .and I’ve run out of space. As for a sumptuous summery summary, just read the article over a couple of more times, then the first chance you get go enjoy some sweet home Alabama diving. Great Dives! ■

gulf CoAst Oriskany. Photo courtesy Mike Hughes

this publiCAtioN supports the southeAst dive CommuNitY


North CAroliNA

WreCk diviNg

ST. SoMewHere 9 Saintly Dives Destinations

By Mike Hughes Travel Editor, Dive News Network

Photo courtesy Ed Gullekson

If you’ve never been to the Caribbean, then I highly recommend setting this article aside and leaving on the next flight out for the crystal blue waters of a place like you’ve never been before. Divers who visit the Caribbean on a regular basis may have told you about reef sharks, barracuda, snapper, grunts, porgies, chubs, tangs, parrot fish, puffer fish and file fish but it’s an eye opening experience when you come face to face with painted animals such as the orange and white spotted Gaudy Clown Crab. The neon blue azure vase sponge looks surreal, squids radiate seemingly electrified colors and the whale shark with thousands of small teeth inside a massive 10 ft. wide mouth is ominous and awesome all at the same time. Caribbean diving encompasses more than the incredible creatures and sometimes you need a quick peek, a small sample, a face-to-face introduction before you can select which island may best suit you. The thing is, no matter what type of diving will meet your particular needs and desires, the Caribbean has it all. Whether your favorite dive fetish is wall dives, wreck dives, photography, boat dives, or pristine shore dives, one of the islands making up the Caribbean should not only satisfy your diving needs, but it’s probably calling out to you right now. There is undersea life in the Caribbean rivaling anywhere else in the world; from the blue spotted peacock flounder to tongue cowry shells with their leopard spotted mantles clinging to purple gorgonian sea fans the marine life here consists of huge splashes of color throughout the green and blue hues of the ocean depths. You’ll see seahorses and frog fish clinging to corals and rocks. Local dive masters will point these creatures out to Photo courtesy Tom Radio


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WreCk diviNg you but as you become familiar with the fish species, you’ll find some fish look like different species, but in fact, they are the same species, just the same fish at different stages in life. Drum fish only have a few stripes across their body as juveniles, but have spots and extra faded brown-black lines as adults. French angle fish as adults are gray oval shaped fish with tiny n r u b ash Jerry W y e l l o w y s te r cou spots, while Photo juveniles are triangular gray fish with yellow stripes. The possibilities are seemingly endless and there are just as many diving possibilities; let’s take a look at some…

sainT crOiX

Called the “American Paradise” of the United States Virgin Islands, St. Croix is 28 miles long and 7 miles wide. It is home to a spectacular 7-mile long wall dive. Off Cane Bay depths run from 20 ft. and descend down to some 3200 ft. Columbus discovered this island in 1493, which must have been quite a surprise to the local Carib natives. The United States bought it from the Danish in 1917 for $25 million and a promise to keep the waters safe from Axis maritime aggression. When you are not diving the wall, or the town pier in Frederiksted, visit the old Whim Plantation or the dungeon at the 1794 fort above Christiansted. The steeple building has a good exhibit on Carib and Arawak Indians. Off shore and great for snorkeling, is the Buck Island Reef National Monument. For those wanting to relax, you can’t beat a bar on the Cane Bay beachfront that literally is called “Off the Wall”. I should add liveaboards such as the Nekton vessel Rorqual travel around St Croix too.

sT. ThOmas

St. Thomas is one of the most unrated dive areas in the world according to local dive shop owner Ana Urh. Urh owns Aqua Marine St. Thomas and she says that she has fallen in love with the area. “Diving is very much unrated here,” says Urh. “Some of the dive centers on St. Thomas do dives right in front of their doors but we dive over 60 different dive sites. Urh says that French Cap is one of her favorites. “It is a pinnacle that goes down 100 ft. There are rays, big sharks, lobsters and the visibility is incredible,” says Urh. “It is away from the sand and away from the beach and it is not unusual to have 150 ft. visibility there.” She adds that Cow-Calf is a also a favorite with lots of canyons, amazing corals and many large cracks to explore. In fact, we dive some amazing dive sites that are unspoiled, like The Sail Rock, she says, is a National Geographic type dive. “There are huge French and queen angel fish, even wahoos and big reef sharks at Sail Rock,” Urh says. “ Our first time out we were amazed at the marine life com-


ing at us.” Urh adds that St. Thomas is a place wreck divers will find interesting as well with planes and ships up to 400 feet long to explore just a short ride away from the home-base.

sT. JOhn

St. John, 3 miles east of St. Thomas is a national park area. There are plenty of offshore rocks, shoals, and cays. You’ll find 30-70 ft. deep dive locations everywhere. Cow and Calf Rocks are both notable as a swim-through. The main attraction out here is not even in the USVI, but over in the British Virgin Islands. You can take an all day boat trip over to Salt Island. This is the home of the 1867 wreck RMS Rhone. This iron hull royal mail steamer ship is not famous just because it tried to out run a storm that turned out to be a late season hurricane, nor is it only famous because only 23 of the 146 onboard survived the event, the main reason it is so popular is the wreck was the setting for the movie “The Deep.” If you look towards the bow, 75 ft. deep, you will see the hatch Jacqueline Bisset swam thru wearing not much more than a scuba tank and a wet tee shirt. The Rhone originally broke into two pieces, but the Royal Navy decided the stern section at 20 ft. of depth was a maritime hazard so they blew it up in the late 1950’s…so much for historical preservation. The 15 ft. wide brass propeller sits on the bottom and there are checkerboard pattern tiles where once stood a galley. Wrenches are still encrusted in their original secured compartment.

sT. kiTTs

Around St. Kitts, over 400 years of European ships fighting in the bays and surrounding offshore waters has left this island with some of the oldest wrecks in the Caribbean. If you want to dive and see encrusted cannons, cannon balls, plates, uniform buttons, and other artifacts, this is the island for you. Coconut Tree Reef is 40-200 ft., Black Coral Reef is at 40-70 ft., the 144 ft. long River Taw Wreck and The Caves of Nevis Island are at 40 ft. with swim thrus and grottos. Depending on the time of year you may see 6 ft. long 1300 lb. leatherback turtles come ashore at Barry’s Beach to lay clutches of oversized white ping-pong ball like eggs in the sand. On land, Brimstone Hill Fortress has plenty of dry historical artifacts. Diving and snorkeling are synonymous with the Bird Rock Beach Hotel. Swim from the beach and marvel at the marine life or go diving from our private dock. “Dive St. Kitts”, the island’s premier dive operation is located on the property.

sT. marTin/sT. marTeen

St. Martin is home to the 1800’s British Man-O-War wreck HMS Proselyte in 50 ft. of water sporting 13 encrusted cannons. Other dives include The Maze, a swim thru, Moon Hole, which is a crater 20 ft. below the surface opening up to 60 ft. with walls, open corridors and caves. One Step Beyond are 2 pinnacles at 70 ft. Wrecks include the Gregory at 55 ft. and the Fu Shen at 120. ft. and there are also many other reefs as well as the artificial reef created by the remnants of the old Simpson Bridge. One of the popular dives is the Shark Awareness Dive at Big Mamas Reef. Here you can sit at 55 ft. of depth and watch trained professionals feed big Mama and her sharp-toothed cartilaginous cousins. On the surface this island has been co-habited and co-governed by the Dutch and French for the past 350 yrs. They literally drew a line through the island and one side is Dutch with the capital of Phillipsburg and uses Netherlands Antilles Florins as well as US dollars as monetary currency. On the other side we have streets right out of Paris with the capital of Marigot and Euros. Everyone should visit Fort Lois, built in 1767, and the Marigot Museum with some native Arawak artifacts dating back to 1800 BC and ceramic artifacts dating back to 500 BC. The Arawaks were culturally thriving until the Caribs discovered them and the Caribs met a similar fate when discovered by the Europeans.

loCAl divers doN’t Just dive loCAllY - theY dive globAllY!


st. someWhere sT. barTs/sT. barThs/barTheLmy

Supposedly named in honor of Columbus’s brother, this area has a lot of history. I’m not a history buff, but I believe the French exchanged this island with Sweden in 1784 for trading rights and a free day pass to Sam’s Club. France repurchased the island in 1877 so, on the surface, you’ll see Swedish names on signs, but the island is French in almost every other way. The Rich come here, but don’t expect to see them out by a hot dog stand. With so many excellent French chefs concentrated on one patch of land, many visitors prefer to have meals catered in their private villas. To save a little money on airfare, you might want to bring your own yacht. The local marina is a favored transit station while island hopping and can hold up to 500 yachts at one time, although 50 or so are typically

tropiCAl dive direCtorY in port. The island itself is formed by ancient coral reefs and boasts more white sand beaches than any other Caribbean get away. Diving is by boat around surrounding rocks and shoals. The marine reserve is set up into 6 zones and marine life has made a major comeback because of concerted efforts. There are over 15 noted dive sites, 4 wrecks, caves, and reefs to choose from. Remember to bring bagfuls of dollars to exchange for a few fistfuls of Euros. This is the place to enjoy champagne boat dreams and caviar dive wishes.

sT. Lucia

St. Lucia is 27 miles long and 14 miles wide. This island is home of the Soufriere Marine Management Area as well as the fa-


Sea Dragon Bahamas Diving

Carib Dancer 800.932.6237 or 305.669.9391 Small Hope Bay Lodge 800.223.6961 SEA DRAGON” DIVE LIVE-ABOARD Unexso Grand Bahamas 800.992.3483

BeLiZe Belize Aggressor III 800.348.2628 706.993.2531 Sun Dancer II 800.932.6237 305.669.9391

BonaiRe Carib Inn +599 717 8819

mous Chastnet Reef. Shore diving goes from 20-140 ft. Superman’s Flight is an awesome drift dive in front of the Petit Piton. The Key Hole is actually a set of 4 pinnacles or seamounts. You can already guess what you’ll see at Turtle Reef - Hawksbill and Green turtles. On the east side you’ll find Piton Walls and Coral Gardens, plus they have the wreck Daini Koyomaru at a depth of 108 ft. and under 300 ft. long. As diving goes, this island has a lot of bang for the buck. Above ground Mt Gemie is 3,117 ft. high and there are rain forests everywhere. You can visit a dormant sulfur springs, waterfalls, forts, and former pirate sites. Leatherbacks go ashore at Grande Anse Beach.

sT. vincenT

St Vincent is 18 miles long and 11 miles wide. Mount Soufriere, an active volcano, ascends 4048 ft. This is a land of black sand beaches, drift dives, wall dives and it’s an underwater photographer’s haven. It’s called the critter capital of the Caribbean but it’s really not fair to compare it to other single island since St. Vincent includes 32 islands, the Grenadines. Some famous dives include Coral Castle and Bat Caves. There are 30 other sites and wrecks making this an ideal dive destination. Above the water line is Fort Charlotte on Berkshire Hill, rain forests, and Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary. If you are looking for a taste of the Caribbean, these are just a few morsels to get you going; however, nothing is like making the trip and tasting the real thing. ■

a listing of participating tropical charters, resorts, liveaboards, and dive shops To be listed call 360.240.1874 or email

CayMan iSLanDS Divetech@Cobal Coast Dive Resort 888.946.5656 Cayman Aggressor IV 800.348.2628 706.993.2531 Ocean Frontiers (345) 947-7500 Southern Cross Club 800.899.2582 Sunset House 800.854.4767

CoSta RiCa (CoCoS) Okeanos Aggressor 800.348.2628 706.993.2531 Wind Dancer 800.932.6237 305.669.9391

CoZuMeL Sea Robin 951.824.9072


We support the southeAst dive CommuNitY

CuRaCao Ocean Encounters 800.932.6237

DoMiniCan RePuBLiC Turks & Caicos Aggressor II (Silver Bank) 800.348.2628 706.993.2531

FiJi Beyond the Reef 691.350.3483 Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat 679.992.4001 Island Dancer 800.932.6237 305.669.9391 Qamea Resort & Spa 649.360.0217 Scuba Travel Ventures 800.298.9009 Wananavu 679.669.4433

tropiCAl dive direCtorY

geAr revieWs The Liquivision Xen features a fullcolor customizable OLED display with 170° viewing angle, a intuitive tap-based interface and menu-based navigation, a bottom time and resettable stopwatch both shown in seconds, easily resettable average depth, a lifetime dive log memory (240 hours at a 4 second sampling rate) and a user changeable battery. It is also both PC and Mac compatible. For more info visit www.

nauTicam na-XZ1 hOusinG FOr OLymPus XZ-1

Nauticam announced the arrival of its NA-XZ1 Housing for Olympus XZ-1. The XZ-1 is Nauticam’s second entry into the advanced compact camera world. This camera and housing package offers complete control and image quality traditionally only available from much larger SLR systems with the ease of use expected of a compact system. A compact camera with this much functionality demands a rugged yet compact housing, and the Nauticam engineers have delivered with an aluminum housing offering all of that functionality to the underwater shooter. No controls need to be preset when installing the camera in the housing simply drop it in. The housing is securely closed with a locking rotary latch. For more info Get the free mobile app for your phone visit Nauticam USA at www. http:/ /

The LiQuivisiOn Xen bOTTOm Timer

The Liquivision XEN is a full-color OLED bottom timer, designed by leading industry professionals and input from highly respected cave and technical divers. The world’s first color OLED bottom timer features a revolutionary balance of performance and value. Divers who prefer “gauge-mode” will no longer need to buy an expensive dive computer only to put it into gauge mode right out of the box. The Liquivision Xen combines readability with Liquivision’s intuitive tapping user interface and custom-designed bottom timer features.

FLoRiDa Conch Republic (800) 274-3483

GaLaPaGoS Galapagos Aggressor I & II 800.348.2628 706.993.2531

GuaDaLuPe & SoCoRRo Baja Aggressor 800.348.2628 706.993.2531

Hawaii Kona Aggressor II 800.348.2628 706.993.2531 Maui Dreams Dive Co 808.874.5332

HonDuRaS Utila Aggressor 800.348.2628 706.993.2531

neW LavacOre Line DivinG suiTs

The new Lavacore line of exposure suits is not a dive skin or a wetsuit, but has the characteristics of both. Developed by the American Underwater Products manufacturing group, the new line was designed by water sports professionals. The Lavacore line can easily be worn as a primary exposure suit in warmer waters or as a supplemental undergarment in colder waters. Lavacore suits are made from an exclusive POLYTHERM™ material. This tri-laminate material retains water next to the body, allows the fabric to breathe, and yet resists the wind and other natural forces that lead to heat loss. There are many different styles including full suits, tops, shorts, long-sleeve and short-sleeve options and even matching vests, hoods, and boots. For more info visit

Utila Tours 800.668.8452 337.893.0013

inDoneSia Komodo Dancer 800.932.6237 or 305.669.9391 Sea Safari Cruises 623.6172.1212

MaLDiVeS Maldives Aggressor 800.348.2628 706.993.2531

MexiCo Scuba Playa Dive Shop 52.984.803.3123

PaPua new Guinea Star Dancer 800.932.6237 or 305.669.9391

Tropic Dancer 800.932.6237 or 305.669.9391

Roatan CoCo View Resort Roatan 800.282.8932 888.405.8737

St. kittS Bird Rock Beach Resort 877.244.6285

tHaiLanD Sairee Cottage Diving 667.745.6126

tuRkS & CaiCoS Turks & Caicos Aggressor II

800.348.2628 706.993.2531

PaLau Palau Aggressor II 800.348.2628 706.993.2531

loCAl divers doN’t Just loCAllY - theY dive globAllY!

Northeast & Midwest Dive News JANUARY 2011

21 21



New Year, New You

success of your hard work; it will help propel you towards your next benchmark.

Buddy up

The buddy system isn’t just for diving. Knowing that a buddy expects you to meet them at the gym or to go just one more block can help you reach your goals. Support each other as you strive for better fitness.

Take it to heart


f you’re looking to shed some pounds from your weight belt, slip into that slimmer wetsuit and take a giant stride into more challenging dive environments, it’s time to commit to some changes. Make 2012 the year to improve your dive fitness.

A year in review

Before establishing a fitness plan, take an assessment of your current physical status. Talk to your doctor to develop fitness goals for the year and for nutritional guidelines to help you reach those goals. Consider your capabilities and make reasonable targets based on that information. You may want to get a dive physical to ensure you are fit to dive. If you’d like to see a dive physician in your area or if your physician would like a consultation, call the DAN Medical Information Line at +1-919-684-2948.

Plan your fitness

Make a workout plan; be sure to incorporate cardio, strength training and flexibility exercises. Schedule time for your workouts in writing, then stick to them. After you’ve established reasonable goals, write in benchmarks you hope to achieve, and track your progress. This doesn’t apply just to pounds. Set goals to extend the miles you can run or reduce the amount of time in which you can do it. Always wanted to do a triathlon? Train for it! Recognize that setbacks will happen; don’t let them throw off your whole fitness routine. You can and will reach your goals if you stay dedicated. As you meet your goals, take time to celebrate the

One of the leading causes of dive-related fatalities is cardiac incident, particularly in divers over the age of 40. You can improve your cardiovascular health by incorporating regular aerobic exercise into your physical fitness routine. Take a brisk walk or swim approximately 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Or if you want a greater challenge, run or bike at least three days a week for at least 20 minutes. Vary your routine to challenge yourself.

Eat healthy

Stock your fridge with foods low in sodium, saturated fats or cholesterol, and avoid trans fats. When picking proteins, choose nuts, lean meats and low-fat dairy products. Stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables and whole-grains. Be conscious of your portion sizes and eat a variety of foods. Wise nutritional choices help promote overall health and physical fitness.

Enhance your education

If you plan to take on new diving environments this year, in addition to ensuring you meet the physical demands they present, make sure you have the proper training to dive in that environment. Enroll in a training course and continue your diving education to enhance your skills as diver.

DAN Can Help

Learn more about how you can improve your fitness. Read the “Dive Fitness” column available at There you can learn about routines to enhance your dive fitness as well as how to make wise nutritional choices. You can also enroll in courses to learn more about dive fitness and dive-specific first aid at Enhance your diving experience this year with a commitment to fitness. ■

A Listing of participating dive shops, charters, resorts and independent instructors ALABAMA Adventure Sport, Inc.

Grove Scuba

Coconut Grove

(305) 443-1313 Store/Charter


(334) 887-8005


Bird’s Underwater

Southern Skin Divers Supply


(205) 595-3052


Crystal River Water Sports

Down Under Dive Shop

Gulf Shores

(251) 968-3483


Native Vacations

Crystal River

(866) 466-2848


Gulf Coast Divers Supply


(251) 342-2970


Coastal Marine Diving Supply

Dania Beach

(954) 815-7914


Orange Beach

(251) 747-6563


The Scuba Center

Delray Beach

(561) 278-7020



(205) 663-7428



(727) 733-1919

Gary’s Gulf Divers Dive Alabama

FLORIDA Force-E Scuba

Boca Raton

(561) 368-0555


Boynton Beach Dive Center

Boynton Beach

(561) 732 8590


Tanks-A-Lot Dive Charters


(727) 798-1269


22 22

Ocean Sports of North Pinellas Divers Discount Florida Lauderdale Diver Sea Experience Captain Pete’s Diving Outfitters

Crystal River Crystal River

(352) 563-2763

(352) 795-7033 Store/Charter

Fort Lauderdale (800) 752-6386 Fort Lauderdale


(800) 654-2073

Store Store Store

Fort Lauderdale (954) 770-3483 Store/Charter Fort Myers

(239) 337-9564


Northeast Dive News JANUARY 2008

We support our local dive shop - without them we will not have a dive industry.


Fort Myers

(239) 481-4733


Florida West Scuba & Charters

Bay Breeze Dive Center

Gulf Breeze

(850) 934-8363


Blue Grotto

Cave Country Diving

High Springs

(386) 454-4444


Atlantic Scuba, Inc.

Holly Hill

(386) 253-7558


Atlantic Pro Divers

Jacksonville Beach

(904) 270-1747

First Coast Divers


(904) 264-4744


(941) 483-3483



(352) 528-5770


GEORGIA Dolphin Dive Center


(706) 548-3483



Adventure Dive Center, LLC


(229) 888-3483



The Dive Shop on McEver


(770) 503-0040



(678) 407-2442



(770) 973-7909


Blue Iguana Charters

Key Largo

(561) 797-2540


Dive Dive Dive, Inc.

Bluewater Divers

Key Largo

(305) 453-9600


The Dive Shop

Captain Slate’s Atlantis Dive Center

Key Largo



Wet Set Scuba & Travel


(770) 389-9949


Horizon Divers

Key Largo

(800) 984-3483


Diver’s Den Georgia

Saint Marys

(912) 882-7078


Island Ventures Diving

Key Largo

(305) 451-4957


South Georgia Dive Charters

Saint Marys

(912) 882-7078


Pirate Island Dive Shop

Key Largo

(800) 809-9881


Captain’s Corner Dive Center

Key West

(305) 296-8865


Underwater Adventures

Baton Rouge

(225) 927-3483


Red River Scuba

Bossier City

(318) 629-3483


Mike’s Dive Center

Lake Charles

(337) 430-0073


Lake Charles

(337) 310-1681



(504) 888-4882



(318) 222-3483



(985) 641-9888


Seaduction Southpoint Divers Spree Expeditions


Key West

(305) 296-9914


Key West

(800) 891-3483


Key West

(281) 970-0534


True Blue Watersports

Scuba Etc.


(863) 687-2822


Harry’s Dive Shop

Wet Pleasures Dive Outfitters


(561) 547-4343


Scuba Ventures


(727) 585-0938


Sunshine Scuba

Coral Reef Dive Shop


Cave Excursions

Live Oak

(386) 776-2299


Dive Outpost

Live Oak

(386) 776-1449


Black Jack Tech Diving

Madeira Beach

(727) 320-0201


Atlantis Charters


(800) 457-0134


Suncoast Dive Center Abyss Dive Center Cave Adventures




Ocala Dive Center


Scuba Extreme Adv.Sports & Travel

Orange Park

Scuba Tiger

Orange Park

The Dive Station


(850) 272-2346


Discovery Diving Co. Poseydon Dive Center

(239) 434-7477 Store/Charter/Training Cape Fear Dive Center Dive Hatteras (352) 732-9779 Store (904) 269-8021


(904) 264-4744 Store/Charter (407) 843-3483

(910) 426-3483


Atlantic Beach

6pack Charter


(252) 728-2265 Store/Charter


(252) 504-3483


Carolina Beach

(910) 458-7390



(703) 818-1850


Air Hogs Scuba


(919) 747-9021


Outer Banks Diving


(252) 986-1056



Triad Divers Supply

High Point

(336) 886-8808


Kings Mountain

(704) 734-1174



(704) 219-0198


Morehead City

(252) 726-9432


(252) 638-3432


Wetter the Better

Palm Beach Gardens

(561) 596-8482


Aquatic Pleasures

Dive Locker

Panama City Beach

(850) 230-8006


Diver Style Scuba

Dive Pros


(866) 348-3776


Dr Dive


(617) 943 5553


Olympus Dive Center Divin’ Dawgs

Scuba Shack/Wet Dreams Charters


(850) 433-4319 Store/Charter

Ghost Fleet Dive Charters

Viking Diving


(850) 916-3483


Rum Runner Dive Shop

Pompano Beach

(954) 943-3483


Force-E Scuba


New Bern Wanchese Winterville

(252) 491-8475 Store/Charter (252) 439-4390



Parrot Island Scuba Adventures

Pompano Beach

(954) 942-7333


Charleston Scuba

Pompano DiveCenter

Pompano Beach

(954) 788-0208


Upstate Scuba

Riviera Beach

(561) 845-2333


Columbia Scuba, Inc.


(803) 788-9166



(864) 286-3483


Force-E Scuba


(843) 763-3483



(864) 653-3483


Ocean Quest Scuba

Riviera Beach

(561) 776-5974


Bermuda Triangle

Pura Vida Divers

Singer Island

(888) 348-3972


Low Country Scuba

Mount Pleasant

(843) 884-1500


Depth Perception


(813) 689-3483


Coastal Scuba

N. Myrtle Beach

(800) 249-9388


Scuba Haven


(813) 972-4455


Off The Wall Charters, Inc.


(864) 944-9255


(703) 263-0427


Adventures Under the Sea


(813) 875-2376


Conch Republic Divers


(800) 274-3483


Narcosis Scuba Center

Tarpon Springs

(727) 934-6474


Northeast Dive News JANUARY 2008

VIRGINIA Adventure Scuba Company


Want to support local diving in your part of the globe? email!

23 23



Pick us up today in your local dive shop. Find us on the web using your smartphone, Kindle, iPad, or Tablet PC.

Get the free mobile app for your phone

http:/ /


– A Living Art Gallery Sweet Home Diving 9 Saintly Dive Destinations DIVE LOCALLY ~ WHERE IT REALLY MATTERS January 2012 Volume 2 Issue 1 $1...


– A Living Art Gallery Sweet Home Diving 9 Saintly Dive Destinations DIVE LOCALLY ~ WHERE IT REALLY MATTERS January 2012 Volume 2 Issue 1 $1...