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MAY 2011



Gulf Coast Shipwrecks, Reefs & Walls of Wonder

Dubois Park

Discover Historic Treasures

North Carolina

It’s Like Having the Caribbean in Your Backyard

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◄ Cover by Dr. Wally Diehl is a practicing veterinarian and owner of Timberlyne Animal Clinic and Legion Road Animal Clinic in Chapel Hill, NC. He’s admitted he is finally taking the time for photography and more diving. Dr. Diehl has been certified for 40 years, since age 16, and is a NAUI instructor. He has three wonderful sons who all dive, and is married to wife Tara who is an avid diver educated as a marine biologist. Dr. Diehl has a house on the coast and says, “I feel enormously fortunate to have dove these waters here off the coast since 1971. I have traveled all over and this is the most consistently exciting diving anywhere.” Dr. Diehl and wife Tara know the marine environment is rapidly changing and often threatened. He says, “I try to share my photos with others as often as I can so they can enjoy them, be inspired to at least think about what we have and what we can do to protect it.”

Southeast Dive News

The complete resource for diving in the Southeast.

Publisher / Editor-in-Chief Rick Stratton/Kathy Stratton Art Director Brian Merculief Production Manager TJ Pierzchala Expo Coordinator Selene Peterson Staff Writer Jamie Farris Graphic Designer Jack Bayliss Accounts Manager Tove Chatham Advertising Sales Manager Keath Allen (360) 240-1874 x105 Circulation/subscriptions 360-240-1874

Dive News Magazine is committed to promoting the sport of scuba diving in the Northeast and Midwest. 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 it chooses. The contents of Northeast and Midwest Dive News are opinions of individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, editor or any of 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 and contains inherent risks. Improper use of diving equipment or improper diving techniques may result in serious injury or death. Readers are advised to use their own best judgment in each individual situation. MOVING? In order to continue receiving your magazine uninterrupted, please notify Northeast 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 Publisher’s Note.................................4 Incoming Mail.....................................5 Southeast Hot News..........................6

Southeast Activities............................ 7 Tropical Dive Directory................22-23 Local Dive Directory......................... 23


10 Gulf Coast – Shipwrecks, Reefs & Walls of Wonder

Float through history while you explore 19th century shipwrecks. Enjoy the splendor of natural underwater reefs and ledges that are home to every type of sea life imaginable. Marvel at the enormous artificial reefs, manmade but taken over by the very nature driven environment they are now a part of. By Rick Stratton


14 Dubois Park – Discover Historic Treasures

Palm Beach County Ocean Guard Peter Leo had no idea what would happen when he discovered a cannon in the sand during his morning swim but it launched him into the adventure of a lifetime. Now, his find from 20 years ago is helping Peter to help enhance one of his favorite dive spots, Dubois Park. The discovery of a Spanish courier ship leads to Pieces of Eight and the payroll for the Spanish garrison in St. Augustine. By Christopher Fine


18 North Carolina – It’s Like Having the Caribbean in Your Backyard

Miles and miles of 5 to 20 ft. tall underwater ledges full of coral and fossil artifacts create an outline of the area just off shore in North Carolina. A 6-mile ledge and 8-mile compete for the attention of divers from all over the world. Lobster Ledge hints at what you might find while Fossil Ledge is famous for divers finding 6.5-inch teeth from prehistoric 60 ft. long sharks who used to patrol the waters. Join writer Mike Hughes as he steps out on the ledge and jumps into adventure. By Mike Hughes

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It’s all about supporting the local dive community—where it really matters

elcome to this month’s edition of Southeast Dive News. As we do every month, we have slaved over this edition – jamming it full of information to help you become more active in the sport – locally – in your backyard - where it really matters. Since printing our magazine last month, our e-mail and phone have been jumping. Folks have questions about us and we’re okay with that. We look forward to your questions and will do our best to answer them but we can only put so many in the magazine. If you have a question and it didn’t make it into the magazine, we suggest you contact us on Facebook at Southeast Dive News. This way, we can answer your questions in a timely manner and others can get to know us as well. So far we have 32 fans and are growing every day. We hope to add you as well. This month, we were out and about at the DOG (DUI Owners Group) Rally in Pelham, Alabama, partnering with DUI to promote local diving and readership in our new magazine. At the DOG Rally, Sales Manager, Keath Allen rubbed elbows with local divers and dive retailers in the Alabama area. Wow, what a great response they had to the magazine.

“The DUI event in Pelham will be remembered as one of my favorite events I’ve had the opportunity to attend. The members of the dive community who participated were passionate about diving and some of the most welcoming I have encountered. Bryant and Michelle Lapoint, the new owners of Dive Alabama were wonderful hosts, making sure everyone had quick air fills and a great facility.” –Keath Allen, Southeast Dive News Sales Manager

Before I get complaints about playing favorites – we are willing to “partner” with ANY company whose core value includes supporting local divers, retailers and local diving. Part of our mission here at SEDN is to be active in the industry which includes helping our dive industry businesses make contact with their divers. So invite us to your party, event or happening. We can’t guarantee anything but you never know – we might just come and bring our friends. Come on, be our friend….we promise…it’s gonna be long lasting and beneficial for everyone! Rick Stratton


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Dear Rick,

It’s hard to believe but 30 years of wondrous days in the diving shop business has come and gone so quickly. So many people over the years have supported us and continue to support us as we provide the best there is for our divers. Our friends have been our blessing and we are celebrating throughout the month with special sales and lots of deals but we also wish to share, along with some refreshments, our gratefulness for all the support. Please come in and see us! Again, THANKS to everyone for these wonderful years; we are looking forward to many more in diving fun. Gene & Eilene and the Scuba Shack Gang Keep on swimming with the fish!!

Dear Gene and Eilene,

Wow, that’s a lot of years to be working within the dive community. It really warms my heart to see someone who has put up with all of us divers for so long and still want to continue doing so. Congratulations on all of the years you have put in already. We hope in another 30 years we will still be exchanging stories about all the great dive adventures we have all shared. Again, congratulations!


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HOT NEWS Get your business noticed by sending us your NEWS/EVENTS: Heritage Awareness Diving Seminar

On May 24-25 in Marathon, Florida the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN), Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research (BAR) and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) are presenting the Spring 2011 Heritage Awareness Diving Seminar. This seminar will focus on providing course directors, instructor trainers and instructors with a greater knowledge of how to proactively protect shipwrecks, artificial reefs, and other underwater cultural sites. This two-day seminar will include one day of classroombased learning and one day of in-field training. For more info contact Jeff Moates at or call 813-396-2327.

Oceanfest at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

On May 21-22 come to the Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans and celebrate International World Ocean Day. Guests will enjoy a variety of hands-on activities and live animal presentations celebrating the wonders of ocean life. For more info visit

REEF recently awarded Nancy Perez the 2010 Key Largo Community Volunteer Award. Nancy joined during REEF’s inaugural year in 1993! She lives in the Florida Keys and has become an instrumental volunteer at REEF Headquarters in Key Largo. Nancy helps connect REEF with the local community through planning special events, including holiday parties, the James E. Lockwood REEF Headquarters dedication, and participation at local festivals. Her tireless dedication to the REEF Fish and Friends event is admired by all. In her spare time, Nancy is out diving and completing REEF surveys! On behalf of the REEF Staff and Board of Trustees, we extend Nancy our deepest appreciation.

Outstanding in their Field: Featured REEF Field Station, Eco-Dives

Photo by Jeff Strout

The 7th Annual Red Neck Riviera Spearfishing Tournament

The 7th Annual Red Neck Riviera Spearfishing Tournament will be held May 20 through June 25. The event will see divers from all over vying for the largest fish. The weigh stations will be Down Under Dive Shop in Gulf Shores, Alabama and Underwater Works in Fairhope, Alabama. Diving is open to all waters between the Destin Pass and the west end of Horn Island. The competition begins 12 a.m. Friday, May 20 and ends when scales close at 6 p.m. Norborne Turner Saturday, June 25. For more info visit www.

Have you ever been to Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary?

Key Largo Community Volunteer Award

If so, you are probably a scuba diver or fisherman. If not, you are not alone! Because of its distance from shore, Flower Garden Banks sanctuary is a place many people will never visit. But it doesn’t mean they will never get to see it. Through partnerships with zoos and aquariums, people are getting to experience the Gardens in the form of live animal exhibits. The sanctuary exhibits closest to Galveston are at Texas State Aquarium (Corpus Christi, TX), Cameron Park Zoo (Waco, TX), and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (New Orleans, LA). For more info visit

REEF is proud to partner with over 130 dive shops, dive clubs, individuals, and other organizations as REEF Field Stations. This month they feature EcoDives in Key West, Florida, which has been a Field Station since 2010. EcoDives owner, Rob McCall, is fascinated by learning and finding new species and enjoys sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with others. Rob has been a REEF surveyor since 2001 so it was a natural to incorporate REEF into his business. EcoDives primarily teaches advanced open-water scuba certifications because it enables them to focus on fun courses such as underwater photography and the REEF Fish ID specialty. Eco-dives were also one of the first dive operators to offer a Lionfish Diver specialty that teaches divers the basics of the lionfish invasion, why it is so detrimental to our reefs. For more info on REEF visit

Dixie Divers: Tech Dive Week 2011 Coming

Here it is; Tech Week 2011, one week filled with deep wrecks. The week will start Tuesday, May 24 with Miracle of Life Wreck (142’) then continue Wednesday, May 25 and dive the wreck of the Miller Lite (164’). Thursday, May 26, divers will dive the famous Hydro Atlantic (172’), Friday, May 27 they will dive the Lowrance (210’), and to finish off the first Tech Week, dive the RBJ (268’) Saturday, May 28. For more info visit

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CLUB MEETINGS & EVENTS May 3: Fanta-Seas Dive Club meeting, 7-9 p.m., Fanta-Seas Divers, 1400 Eatonton Rd., Ste. 750, Madison, GA. May 3: Orlando Reef Divers meeting, 7 p.m., Paddy Murphy’s, Baldwin Park, FL. May 4: Nautical Nudists Dive & Boating Club meeting, 7 p.m., check web site for location, Land ‘O Lakes, FL. www. May 4: South Florida Divers meeting, 7:30 p.m., Lauderdale Isles Yacht Club, Hollywood, FL. May 5: Caloosa Dive Club meeting, 8 p.m., Cape Coral Yacht Club, Cape Coral, FL. May 5: Jupiter Drift Divers meeting, 7 p.m., Jupiter Fire Station Community Room, Jupiter, FL. May 5: Sarasota Scuba Club meeting, 7:30 p.m., Fraternal Order of Police Hall, Sarasota, FL. May 5: The Kansas City Frogman Club, 7 p.m., Skin-N-Scuba Dive Shop Education Room, Independence, MO. www. May 5: Under Sea Adventurers Dive Club meeting, 7 p.m., Best Western Hotel, Deerfield Beach, FL. May 7: Atlanta Underwater Explorers meeting, 3 p.m., East Atlanta Library Branch, Atlanta, GA. May 10: Atlanta Reef Dwellers Scuba Club meeting, 7 p.m., Hudson Grill @ Brookhaven, Atlanta, GA. www. May 10: Sea Tigers Spearfishing Club meeting, Roussel Trim & Stairs, Harvey, LA. May 10: South Florida Underwater Photography Society meeting, 7:30 p.m., El Palacio Hotel, Miami, FL. May 10: Waterloggers Dive Club meeting, 6:30 p.m., Beef O’Bradys, Melbourne, FL. May 14: Kids Fish ‘n’ Fun Derby, 8:30 a.m. – noon, Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga, TN. www.tennesseeaquarium. com/Events May 15: USA Dive Club presents Family Fun Day at the Beach, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Lauderdale, FL. www.shorediving. com/Earth/USA East/Florida May 16: Sea Turtle Dive Club meeting, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Jasper Dive Center, Jasper, GA. May 16-23: Tobago Underwater Carnival, Tobago, West Indies. www. May 17: Orlando Reef Divers meeting, 7 p.m., Paddy Murphy’s, Baldwin Park, FL. May 18: Central Florida Pleasure Divers meeting, 7 p.m., Denny’s Restaurant, Orlando, FL.

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May 18: Suncoast Reef Rovers meeting, 6 p.m., Nokomis Community Center, Venice FL. May 19: Caloosa Dive Club meeting, 8 p.m., Cape Coral Yacht Club, Cape Coral, FL. May 19: KSC Barracuda Dive Club meeting, 6:30 p.m., Merritt Island Library, Kennedy Space Center, FL. www. May 20 – June 25: 7th Annual Red Neck Riviera Spearfishing Tournament, Tacky Jack’s, Orange Beach, AL. www. May 21-22: Free admission to Oceanfest, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, New

Orleans, LA. oceanfest May 22: USA’s Green Team Adopt-AStreet Cleanup, 9 a.m., Natura Boulevard, Deerfield Beach, FL Contact Clare or Julie at May 24-28: Dixie Divers Tech Dive Week, Dixie Divers, Deerfield Beach, FL. June 1: Nautical Nudists Dive & Boating Club meeting, 7 p.m., check web site for location, Land ‘O Lakes, FL. www. June 1: South Florida Divers meeting, 7:30 p.m., Lauderdale Isles Yacht Club, Hollywood, FL.

We support local divers - Local divers support the industry.




The Gulf Oil Spill One Year Later

Wildlife affe Photo by w cted by the oil spill. ww.oilspilln

Orange Beach Alabama. Photo by By Mike Hughes Travel Editor, Dive News Network


’m not going to sugar coat it and say everything is back to normal. The local populations of animals and humans have been put through devastating circumstances; the 10 million dollar cost savings route to installing an oil well proving to be so deadly and so long lasting. Now the lawyers and lawsuits will take longer to disperse than the pockets of crude oil still remaining thousands of feet below the surface or in the still standing oil puddles in the marshlands of Louisiana. A year after the spill, the government has declared the local seafood good to eat again. The beaches off Alabama are white again, and the dive visibility is back to spectacular. Most of the local dive charter operations and dive shops are gearing up for what could be a great dive season. Some areas along the panhandle had no oil wash ashore. Some areas had just a few tar balls wash ashore over a few days. Some areas such as off shore islands were completely covered with oil, yet all areas suffered the loss of tourism equally. The dive businesses are able to say bookings are up for the spring season and they expect dive boats to be filled by the time spring break hits, so make your reservations as soon as possible. I know the folks at Down Under Dive 8

Shop will be taking charters out to the USS Oriskany almost every Saturday and possibly twice each week; weather permitting. This 911 ft. long attack aircraft carrier is one of the most popular dive sites in the panhandle region. By spring the waters are 70 degrees warm and by summer 80 degrees. The flight tower is around 78 ft., the flight deck down at 145 ft., and for tech divers, the ship rests in sand at 212 ft. of depth. With lots of resident fish, and occasional swim by’s of pelagics, it’s no wonder this is one of the top must dive sites in the area. Now I know if you have been following the news, you’ve probably heard that thousands of coastal birds died from the oil spill, over 600 turtles perished, and recently USA Today reported that 48 dolphins have washed up on the shores in the last two months alone. Of these, 29 were fetal sized calves and may or may not have been still born or died before their first breath of air. Normally it was common to find 2 dolphins washed ashore before the oil spill. It is important to note that in comparison the Valdez accident resulted in over 2,000,000 marine bird deaths. The last official count was that around 2,000 oiled birds were found and half of these where released back into the wild unharmed. Many of the birds collected only had trace amounts of oiled

Dive Locally - Where It Really Matters

feathers that probably could have been removed by the birds themselves by normal preening. During the Gulf oil spill there were many immediate casualties of wildlife and some of the overall affects may not be known for years to come. At this point it is difficult to tell which animals were victims of the oil spill and which animals fell victim to the oil spill dispersants. The Valdez disaster lead to a crash in the herring run five years after the accident and the herring have yet to recover in the area. At least one pod of killer whales never regained pod status. Thousands of bird, otters, salmon, and seals were decimated. As a marine biologist, I hope nothing like this happens to the gulf region, but expect to hear about even more oil contaminated crashes such as in the oysters beds around Louisiana as fresh water sent down river to keep the oil tainted saltwater at bay and out of more marshes, killed many beds of oysters who were not able to tolerate a fresh water habitat for such a critical period of time. As a diver, you too can help monitor the future of the gulf. It is as simple as noticing the changes in numbers of aquatic creatures on your dives. On the positive side, a diver from Dive Pro in Pensacola, Florida told me the required fishing restrictions over the last year has taken a lot of pressure off the fish populations and because of this, divers can

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SOUTHEAST expect to see more fish on a typical dive. A spokesperson for Panama City Dive Charters told me the goliath grouper are already returning from their deep water spawning grounds and you can now see them on the local wrecks and reefs. Besides the changes of “back to normal” fish populations, other changes might be noticeable such as the behavioral changes as witnessed by Bruce Flareau, a PADI Rescue Diver with over thirty years of scuba diving background and 50 plus logged dives a year has described. He notes that since the oil spill, he has encountered whale sharks closer to the shoreline, however other divers say Whale shark near shore sitings began more than a year before the Gulf oil spill and two years ago there were more Whale sharks in near shore sites than they have had over the past 20 years combined. So there may not be a correlation between the oil spill and the new sitings. I started writing this article in my hotel room in Tampa, Florida. This is the first time I’ve gotten a room overlooking the Tampa Bay waters. I could see past the swimming pool and low dense brush land leading to exposed mud flats at low tide. A white crane was wading ankle deep in the water for a fish to stray too near. The waters were clear and the bird had no idea what had transpired a year earlier. For the bird, life in the gulf was as it had always been. You can say the same for the divers who come here for the diving this spring. It’s not until you see the marshes and islands off Louisiana you know that all has not been restored and put back to right. It will take time to discover the true effects of the dispersants and the oil itself. The oil on the surface waters has deteriorated by sun, weather, and has been eaten away by voracious microorganisms. Capt. Tim Thorsen of Viking Diving was a huge part of the recovery process and he says it really was a team effort when it comes to returning the area to its original state. “Keep in mind that my livelihood as well as the health and safety of my children who work with me in my business are my ultimate priority,” Thorsen says. “But I was

Going Diving ? Go Here First !

THE GULF OIL SPILL on the front line of the recovery efforts in the Gulf as the Command Vessel for USCG Task Force 011 and I have seen the worst part of the oil recovery efforts as well as the best. Thousands of private vessels with the BP Vessels of Opportunity devoted their time and efforts to cleaning up every drop of oil we could find on a daily basis until we spent the last 30 days on contract combing the Gulf for any signs of anything that resembled oil, only to find nothing but crystal clear, blue water for as far as the eye could see and as far as the helicopters could fly in a given day. These guys should be commended for a job well done and we are all happy to have assisted in diverting this disaster.” Thorsen also thinks kudos should go to BP as well. “Equally important to note is that BP should be commended for taking the lead and making sure this disaster was taken care of and they continue to take care of it as anything is uncovered that still needs attention. On a flight to Houston a year ago I met a tall unassuming man wearing blue jeans, long sleave shirt, and a baseball style cap which read, “Department of the Interior”. Ken Salazar was on a fact-finding mission for the President’s administration. I had a brief moment to talk about scuba diving with him. The administration and scientists around the world will be studying and investigating the BP oil disaster for years to come. In the meantime civilians like us can enjoy scuba diving the local waters knowing Mother Nature has already been doing her part to restore the local environment. ■ MIKE HUGHES has written over 100 dive articles over the last seven years. He is a PADI Master Instructor and IANTD Tech diver. He has spent 30 years traveling to dive destinations around the world and has a B.S. degree in Marine Biology.

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Gulf Coast Shipwrecks, Reefs & Walls of Wonder

eef. tif icial r rges ar a B e e r div Th by mbt Photo

David Doubilet

By Rick Stratton Publisher, Dive News Network


rom just the right spot you can literally stand on both the Florida and Alabama Gulf coasts. A place of beauty famous for its white sand beaches, fantastic fishing and southern hospitality, this is also a diver’s haven. Pensacola’s waters offer up incredible dive opportunities for the snorkeler, the scuba diver and even the spear fisherman. Float through history while you explore 19th century shipwrecks. Enjoy the splendor of natural underwater reefs and ledges that are home to every type of sea life imaginable. Marvel at the enormous artificial reefs, manmade but taken over by the very nature driven environment they are now a part of. No matter what type of diving you enjoy or what level of skill you are, Pensacola has what you want.


If you listen closely you can hear the voices and cannon blasts of the past as you

dive one of the hundreds of shipwrecks that have made the Pensacola area their final resting place. Ghostly images of times gone by are covered in marine life and are a permanent part of the underwater landscape of the Gulf waters. An active port since the 1600’s, Pensacola has a long list of nether life residents haunting the waters below. An amazing collection of historic shipwrecks await the curious and still more lay undiscovered. From a mere 15 ft. of water to 180 ft. deep, these are some of the most impressive shipwrecks in the world.

Russian Freighter - San Pablo

Perhaps one of the most famous shipwrecks in the area is the San Pablo. This impressive ship sank September 25, 1943. It was, however sunk sort of backwards. In 1942 the San Pablo was fired upon by a U-161. The ship was hit and sank in the port of Puerto Limon. The bulk of her still peered above the water but crew were lost. In January of 1943, the ship was raised and

temporary repairs made. She was towed to the gulf area with the intent to repair her fully however, once there, it was decided she was indeed beyond repair. She was declared a total loss and sunk again as target 9 miles SSE of Pensacola Pass. Today the San Pablo makes an impressive home to layers upon layers of sea life. Eilene Beard, co-owner of Scuba Shack/Wet Dream Charters along with Gene Ferguson says the San Pablo is one of her favorites. “The old Russian freighter – is near and dear to my heart,” Beard says. “It went down in 1943 which was the beginning of scuba diving. It’s been torn up by storms but it is still amazing. It is covered with sea life. It is great for photographers.”

Artificial Reefs Three Barges

These three coal barges were sunk as an artificial reef approximately 5 miles south east of Pensacola Pass. At a depth of 60’ at their deepest these barges offer up an easy

Pensacola on the Gulf Coast. Photo by 10

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The USS Oriskany. Photos by

dive. Shell collectors will find a bounty of shells to sift through and new divers will discover this is a dive that will help them get comfortable with diving shipwrecks.

awarded to Florida and Pensacola in 2003, the Oriskany traveled a long and winding road to get to where she is now. She was finally sunk in 2006.

USS Oriskany


One of the more recent artificial reefs in the Pensacola area is the USS Oriskany. Divers come from far and wide to experience the big hulking ship that rests in the ocean Gulf water. Recreational and sport divers come to the Oriskany in droves to hover above the flight deck resting at 150 ft.. An amazing abundance of marine life now makes the ship its home. Technical divers also love the Oriskany because it is an incredible training site. The ship sports large overhead environments at 160 ft. and is perfect for all training with air and nitrox, and introduction to trimix. Solicited for an artificial reef in 2001 then

Pensacola is also famous for its underwater graveyard of planes. Often referred to as “the world’s premier Underwater Aviation Museum”, this area sports planes from just about every venue. Pensacola’s collection of sunken aircraft includes planes dating back to before WWII. The F-8-F Bearcat, the F4U Corsair, a TBF/M Avenger, an A7 Corsair II, and even an AD Skyraider randomly occupy the deep and shallow waters of the Gulf. Depths of the aircraft range wildly from 60 to 130 ft.

A-7 Corsair II

The A-7 is upside down on the bottom of the Gulf at approximately 17 miles South

of Pensacola Pass. It is laid out in 110 ft. of water and is a favorite site for lobster hunters. This plane is an easy dive and an interesting start on your dive through the history of aviation.

Oil Rigs

Let’s be honest…as much as we hate these things these days we are also discovering they make for an interesting dive. The rigs in the Pensacola area were intentionally sunk as artificial reefs and provide a good open home for a diverse collection of marine life. Diving on one of these structures makes it hard to see them as a menace once a diver sees all the wildlife that settles onto one once it is sunk. The depths of the oil rig dives range from 75 to 170 ft.

Chevron Rig In 1993 this large structure was sunk

approximately 21 miles SE of Pensacola

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The Chevron rig. Photo by

Pass. Dives on the rig can range from 75135 ft. and promise an incredible amount of marine life. Sea turtles, huge lobster and an abundance of fish draw spear fishermen and lobster hunters on a regular basis.

Natural Reefs

You can’t talk about what Pensacola has to offer unless you mention the natural reefs in the area. In the Northern Gulf the reefs form a “live or natural bottom”. The reefs are formed from limestone outcroppings and ledges and offer swatches of corals, sponges and an abundance of sea creatures. Many divers hit the natural reefs for night dives since they offer so much life. The natural reefs range in depth from 70 to 130 ft. Kevin Freeland, owner of Dive Pros, a full service recreational scuba outfitter, loves the ledges. The USS Oriskany is the shipwreck people come from far and wide to dive but there are 100’s of wrecks here,” Freeland says. “There are incredible low limestone ledges that line the gulf and provide a great home for sea life. This is a terrific place to dive, we have clear water in the summer time and in winter we have the warm water; can’t ask for much more than that.”

Fort Pickens Jetties

If you talk to a seasoned diver of the Pensacola area chances are the first words out of their mouths will be Fort Pickens followed by “The Jetties”. These beauties are a popular bayside shore dive since divers can literally walk right in. The site is in the National Park so it is protected. Divers usually head out by way of the sea wall, just west of the fishing pier in the northern area of the Fort. Divers will discover pieces of machinery, vehicles, tires and even some cages all leading up to the natural life that has settled in on the jetties. Carlos Faught,

owner of Bay Breeze Dive Center in Gulf Breeze says that Fort Pickens on the Bay Side is a popular dive. “There are two rock jetties and you are going to go about 50 ft. to get to the end,” Faught says. “There is even some aircraft debris for divers to explore but I would suggest divers be mindful of the area and catch it at high tide.”

Timber Holes The “Timber Holes” are a draw for div-

ers from all over the world. Almost legend, these large natural limestone ledges have formed around timber standing like a petrified forest. Just 24 miles ESE of Pensacola Pass and at a depth ranging from 100 to 125 ft. the Timber Holes offer divers a chance to see an amazingly diverse population of sea life. The currents in this area can get interesting so it is important to plan your dives for both here and the jetties with that in mind. Tim Thorsen, of Viking Diving is in his 20th season on the Gulf and he has over 30 years of diving under his belt. He says the Pensacola area offers divers something you just can’t find anywhere else. “Diving exposure, people discovering us again after the oil spill has improved but this has been a great dive area,” says Thorsen. “Our proximity to Desoto Canyon gives us those deep blue waters that come in close to shore bringing with it sea life like most divers have never seen. Each and every dive is a surprise and that’s just the way we like it here.” Thorsen’s sentiments are echoed throughout the dive community in and around Pensacola. The facts are as clear as the waters that provide the diverse marine life with a place to play…Pensacola is an ever changing dive environment that will always intrigue you and never bore you. ■

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Dubois Park Discover Historic Treasures By Christopher Fine, Guest Writer -Dive News Network


ve on epares to di Peter Leo pr Jupiter Wreck.” “The even Singer. Photo by St

t 55 years old Peter Leo made his first underwater find south of the Jupiter Inlet jetty. He was doing his morning exercise swim with goggles before work and he swam through a school of bait fish. Looking down he saw an object that had become uncovered in the sand. Leo dove down and recognized the partially buried tube of a cannon. He went back to the office, found a piece of tin, inscribed his name on it, returned to the cannon and attached the marker….that was almost 20 years ago. Now Leo is working with new artifacts to help enhance one of his favorite dive spots, Dubois Park. The work on Dubois Park at Jupiter Beach, Florida is nearing completion. As contractors enhance existing facilities, County Park and Recreation officials plan attractions that will bring cultural heritage to life and give visitors and residents a sense of history about the area. This is just what Leo had in mind and he is pleased to see

the work moving forward. “With care and maintenance these artifacts will remain time capsules. They will spark imagination of young and old for generations to come,” Leo said. A 32-year veteran of the Ocean Lifeguard for Palm Beach County, it was after all Leo’s day to day duties on Jupiter Beach that eventually led to the discovery of a Spanish courier ship lost just offshore in shallow water so his interest in this project was personal. After he first discovered the ship, he began calling state officials in Tallahassee hoping to get assistance to protect, and then raise the potentially valuable cultural resource. The state couldn’t send anyone for months. Leo determined he would raise the cannon and keep it safe until government officials could inspect it. Shifting sands in the ocean could cover it over again as it had been for more than 300 years so Leo assembled friends and got the cannon slung on a hoist and raised. He found a crushed copper bucket underneath the cannon. A little hand fanning revealed two Pieces of

Dubois Park. Photo by 14

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Jupiter Inlet. Photo by

Eight, legendary silver coins from Spanish colonial conquest of the Americas. The project launched this ocean lifeguard on an odyssey adventure. It eventually resulted in the recovery of sunken treasure from the vessel which was later identified as the San Miguel Archangel, a ship that sank in 1660 with gold and silver aboard, likely personal treasure and a payroll for the Spanish garrison in St. Augustine. Working with Florida’s Department of State, Division of Cultural Resources, Leo undertook the salvage of the shipwreck. The salvage company Leo and his divers formed obtained an admiralty claim from the U.S. District Court and they undertook the excavation with archaeologists and state cultural resource managers. Large anchors and cannons were raised and kept in water so the iron would not deteriorate once exposed to air. Stabilization of iron artifacts that have been submerged in seawater is an arduous process. Salt crystals saturated in the metal can cause it to become brittle and break apart quickly once an object is brought up. Evidence of this process can be seen on any drive along A1A in the Florida Keys. Cannons and anchors from old shipwrecks lie on almost every doorstep, crumbling, flaking and rusting away. Eyesores now abandoned on the landscape. Leo’s dream was to create an underwater snorkeling park in a swim lagoon near the site of the shipwreck using artifacts he and his team of divers recovered. Peter’s efforts already have seen two large anchors and a cannon on display on the grounds of the Loxahatchee Historical Society Lighthouse Park. Thousands of visitors stop to view the preserved artifacts each year and learn about the shipwreck from a bronze plaque. Leo, an avid sailor and captain, discovered these two antique anchors in a marina in Oriental, North Carolina. “You’d be surprised how many anchors decorate yards in North Carolina. They’re there rusting away,” he explained. Leo bought the anchors, which he dates to the late eighteenth, early nineteenth centuries. Plans are for the original stabilized cannons



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Peter Leo with anchor from the San Miguel Archangel. Photo by John Fine.

and anchor from the Jupiter shipwreck to be used on land and the two anchors Peter purchased to become part of the underwater park in the planned swim lagoon. The local government is excited about the project as well. “I’m so excited about the snorkeling area. From one acre we are creating six and a half acres of habitat,” says Jean Matthews, the Senior Planner with Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation. “We are going to use limestone boulders underwater. They have many nooks and crannies conducive to marine life. The base will be 50’ wide and will go up in a pyramid. The area will be sheltered from currents. No boats can go in there and the water will be crystal clear and blue.” Matthews prepared many grants that allowed for more than 70 percent of the $2.5 million project to be funded without the use of local tax money. “We partnered with the Florida Inland Navigation District, FIND, 16

they contributed $987,000,” says Matthews. “Florida’s Fish and Wildlife commission contributed $500,000 and Florida’s Boating Improvement Program contributed $50,000 for upland improvement to a walkway and removal of exotic vegetation then replanting with native species. The Palm Beach County Metropolitan Planning Organization gave us $130,000 to create a water taxi dock in Dubois Park from Federal grant money. The water taxi shelter received $65,000.” Matthews also says the town folk are getting in on it too. “The Town of Jupiter has an events plaza as part of their River Walk,” Matthews explains. “In the future the plan is for the water taxi to pick up people at the plaza and bring them to Dubois Park then to area restaurants and the Jupiter Lighthouse. That is in the planning stage. The reverse will happen as well. People will come to the Park and can take the water taxi to Jupiter’s attractions without driving.”

Matthews says the project is an enhancement and program development of Dubois Park. “It will make it a more enjoyable park,” says Kimberly Miranda, Project Manager with Palm Beach County’s Environmental Resources Management. “Part of the shoreline is armored with concrete. This will be removed and we will put in sand so people can use it and access the snorkel area. Zeke’s Marina, near the site, was acquired by the County in 2008. We are putting in fixed piers as well as floating docks. This will allow people to bring their boats and tie up for day use. There will also be fixed piers for boats operated by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service and Palm Beach County Search and Rescue. The beach will be more accessible.” Dave Lill, Director of Aquatics for Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation says the plans are to set the park up as an

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Peter Leo with cannons from the San Miguel Archangel. Photo by John Fine.

exciting place to dive or snorkel. “We plan on mounting the cannons facing the water so they can be seen from land and water,” says Lill. “We’re excited about the project. It will create a sensational snorkeling opportunity that will not require a boat to get to. There will be erosion control that will create a wall open to sea water but will keep boats out. The limestone boulders that will go in will create a sanctuary for marine life. It will draw people from all over to the area. People can use the day docks, swim, snorkel and picnic.” The project has been more than two decades in the making. Leo says it is good to know the objects are going to last well beyond his years. “The anchors and cannons were found not a hundred yards from the very spot where they will be displayed. That makes it unique,” Leo said. “The lagoon will be a perfect setting for snorkeling. With a tidal flow directly from the Gulf Stream it will become a salt water aquarium open to the Inlet and the ocean but protected in a cove. This will be the final chapter; getting objects on display for the general public. Leo is proud of his work. The project completion is scheduled for summer 2011. For ocean lifeguard Leo, discovery of the shipwreck off Jupiter Beach was more than a treasure trove of Spanish coins and bullion. It is a time capsule he undertook to share with the world. ■

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North Carolina It’s like having the caribbean in your Backyard

Shark - What shark? Photo by Dale Hansen

Mike Hughes By Mike Hughes


o matter what you read, they always portray North Carolina as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. It is true there may be well over 5000 shipwrecks off the coastline, but North Carolina waters should not be compared to Atlantic waters. The waters here can range in temperature between 7680 degrees. The lobsters are spiny, not heavy clawed. The fish are tropical. The ledges are coral gardens. The diving is generally more typical of the Cayman Islands than 18

it is comparable to Maine, New York, or Newfoundland. I’ve never tried to personally count all the wrecks off North Carolina, but I do know someone who probably has or is in the never-ending process of charting them all. Dale Hansen of Discovery Diving in Beaufort has mentioned some of these wrecks to me over the years I’ve known him. He and a dedicated group of divers have been collecting data on the existing wrecks as well as finding new wrecks. I believe the team is currently getting ready to announce a newly discovered wreck just as soon as they make sure all parties concerned get due credit for the discovery. Dale is passionate about wrecks and as it turns out, he couldn’t have picked a better location for his passion. It turns out that storms, high waves, and mechanical failures have helped sink more ships here than we could ever do alone due to human errors and making artificial reefs. From the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, ships routinely sank in heavy seas without any trace or record. One

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NORTH CAROLINA of the most famous wrecks from this early time is Queen Anne’s Revenge captained by the pirate Blackbeard (Edward Teach) that ran aground by Top Sail Inlet. With a bell marked 1709 and 21 cannons strewn on the substrate, there is little chance it could be any other ship that stranded on a sand bar and went down around the same time. Oh, don’t bother looking; the pirates took all but a few specks of gold with them. During the Civil War the most famous ship to go down off the coast was the USS Monitor. With only twin 11-inch guns based on a turret, the Monitor faced off and stalemated in battle against the 10 fixed guns of the ironclad CSS Virginia “the remodeled USS Merrimac”. This battle ended the days of the tall sailing ships. My brother, a war historian, points out that more importantly it was the end of fixed gun emplacements. The industrial North replaced the Monitor with three new ironclads within six months. The Agricultural based South on the other hand destroyed the only ironclad they had so it wouldn’t fall into Northern hands. You can see that it could take a book just to do justice to all the wrecks of North Carolina, let alone just these two mentioned wrecks or even the 184 historical wrecks located near Cape Look Out. Rod Farb is the author of The Guide to Shipwreck Diving: North Carolina. One of the most famous wrecks to dive here has to be the German submarine U-352.

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The VII-C Class is 218 ft. long and rests at a max depth of 110 ft. The outer hull is still in good shape. Besides the sub, schools of fish live here and make a great backdrop for photo images. The U-352 was one of a dozen ships and submarines sunk off the coast during the war years. The U-124 sunk several tankers over 400 ft. long. The U-588 torpedoed a 162 ft. long British armed trawler. The U-352 sunk the Atlas oil tanker. The U-158 sunk the Caribe Sea freighter. The U-552 sunk 5 vessels by itself. Other U-boats created other disasters almost to the point where any vessel sailing these waters during the war years was an artificial reef waiting for a place to happen. This added to North Carolina’s notoriety as the graveyard of the Atlantic, but on these dives expect to see wrecks dotted with groupers, sea turtles, barracuda, lionfish, and sometimes cool looking sand tiger sharks. The U-85 near Nags Head has lots of attractive coral growth on it and you can still see where the USS Roper’s depth charges buckled the hull. After the war, the carnage and sinking continued with such notables as the 298 ft. long USS Tarpon, a shark class submarine, that sank in 1957 at 140 ft. depth and the 406 ft. long passenger freighter Proteus with 46 state rooms that sunk in 1958 at 120 ft. of depth. Suffice to say, you could spend several years diving the waters of North Carolina before you even saw half of all the known wrecks. Ships continue to sink here in bad weather and I should mention more accurate assessments have deduced the shipwreck called the Hutton is actually the oil tanker Ario. The tanker Papoose is actually the tanker Hutton, and the Papoose is deep off the Oregon Inlet. Also, like any good menu there are lists of wrecks to choose from so you can choose between freighters, fishing trawlers, tankers, coast guard cutters, cable ships, submarines, or armed trawlers. But don’t order yet! If all this wasn’t enough, North Carolina artificial reef projects include the 441 ft. long Liberty Ship Theodore Parker in 30-60 ft. of water, and a 328 ft. long landing craft repair ship called the USS Indra in 35-70 ft. of water. So you are not a fan of wreck diving? No problem. North Carolina has miles and miles of 5 to 20 ft. tall underwater ledges full of coral and fossil artifacts. While 6-mile Ledge and 8-mile Ledge hint at how long they are, Lobster Ledge hints at what you might find here. Fossil Ledge is famous for divers finding 6.5-inch teeth from prehistoric 60 ft. long sharks that used to patrol these waters. Fortunately, it’s safe to go back in the water now and with a little luck you may find a fossilized tooth that doesn’t quite fit in the palm of your hand. Dive trips to fossil sites vary greatly and you have to shop around to get the best price. Also, they 20

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USCG Cutter Bedloe. Photo by Tane Casserly.


NORTH CAROLINA don’t guarantee you will come back with a large prehistoric tooth, you just have to keep your eyes open and hope for some exposed serrated artifact to be pointing out of the sandy substrate, but even if you come back toothless, it still could be a good experience as well as another fun dive to log. As far as shore dives go, the most famous beach dive is Radio Island near Beaufort. It’s a jetty dive with up to 43 ft. of depth. You might see dolphins playing on the surface and stingrays just beneath. As you can see, it’s no wonder why they call this area the graveyard of the Atlantic, but it baffles me where the Atlantic part enters into the picture. Tropical pirates, tropical reefs, tropical fish, and tropical storms all suggest to me the best kept secret in North Carolina is you are diving in the Caribbean without having to take an over water flight to get there. Great Dives. ■ Check out these sites for information about the Queen Anne’s Revenge

Monitor deck turret 1862. File Photo

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The Bonica Underwater JVC550PRO Kit has everything a diver needs to capture the world underwater whether you want your memories in video or stills. The JVC WR-MG270 underwater housing allows divers to safely take their equipment underwater down to 130 ft. The included dual Bonica G8V15 LED Video Lights are perfect for allowing underwater photographers to capture true color. The kit includes a Camcorder w/ WR-MG270 Underwater Housing, 2 G8V15 LED Video Lights, w/ Arms, Wide Angle Lens, w/ Lens Holder/ Filters all in a soft camera travel bag. With 10.6MP CMOS Sensor / 1920 x 1080i HD, 32GB Internal Memory & SD/SDHC Card Slot, Konica Minolta HD Lens w/ 15x Zoom, 9.3MP Digital Stills & 24Mbps AVCHD and Wireless Bluetooth Compatibility the Bonica Underwater JVC550 – Pro Kit is sure to complete any diver’s equipment list. For more info visit

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TROPICAL DIVE DIRECTORY BaHaMaS Juliet Sailing & Diving 866.558.5438


Calypso Beach Retreat 303.264.8333 Hugh Parkeys 888.223.5403 Sun Breeze Hotel 1.800.688.0191


Buddy Dive Resort 599.717.5080.518 Deep Blue Adventures 888.266.2209 Divi Resorts 954.545.0269 Quest Dive Adventures 770.992.8414 The Dive Outfitters 780.483.0044

BritiSH Virgin iSland NV Yacht Charters 443.829.8576

22 22



ALABAMA Adventure Sport, Inc.


(334) 887-8005


Southern Skin Divers Supply


(205) 595-3052


Down Under Dive Shop

Gulf Shores

(251) 968-3483


Orange Beach

(251) 747-6563


Dive Alabama


(205) 663-7428


Force-E Scuba

Boca Raton

Gary's Gulf Divers

FLORIDA (561) 368-0555


(352) 795-7033



(954) 473-1220


Delray Beach

(561) 278-7020



(727) 733-1919


Fort Lauderdale

(954) 770-3483

Store/Charter Charter

Crystal River Water Sports Crystal River Divers Cove The Scuba Center Ocean Sports of North Pinellas Sea Experience Dr Dive

Gulf Breeze

(617) 943 5553

Atlantic Scuba, Inc.

Holly Hill

(386) 253-7558


Blue Iguana Charters

Key Largo

(561) 797-2540


Captain Slate's Atlantis Dive Center

Key Largo



Horizon Divers

Key Largo

(800) 984-3483


Captain's Corner Dive Center

Key West

(305) 296-8865


Key West

(800) 891-3483


Live Oak

(386) 776-2299


Southpoint Divers Cave Excursions Dive Outpost

Live Oak

(386) 776-1449


Abyss Dive Center


(800) 457-0134


Scuba Extreme Adv.Sports & Travel


(904) 269-8021




(239) 434-7477


Ocala Dive Center


(352) 732-9779


An alphabetical listing of participating dive shops, charters, live aboards and resorts in tropical locations around the world.

CaYMan iSlandS Deep Blue Adventures 888.266.2209 Divetech@Cobal Coast Dive Resort 888.946.5656 Southern Cross Club 800.899.2582 Sunset House 800.854.4767

CoSta riCa Quest Dive Adventures 770.992.8414

CoZUMEl Albatros Charters 888.333.4643 BlueBubbleScuba 987.872.4240 Deep Blue Adventures 888.266.2209 Island DreamsTravel 800.346.6116 Scuba Du 310.684.5556

CoZUMEl (Cont.) Sea Robin 951.824.9073


Ocean Encounters 800.932.6237


Beqa Lagoon Resort 800.542.3454 Dancer Fleet 305.669.9391 Deep Blue Adventures 888.266.2209 Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat 679.992.4001 Koro Sun 970.209.4265 Lalati 877.750.0233 Qamea Resort & Spa 649.360.0217 Quest Dive Adventures 770.992.8414 Wananavu 679.669.4433

Northeast Dive News JANUARY 2008

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

The Dive Station Dive Locker Dive Pros


(407) 843-3483


Panama City Beach

(850) 230-8006



(866) 348-3776



(850) 433-4319


Force-E Scuba

Pompano Beach

(954) 943-3483


Force-E Scuba

Riviera Beach

(561) 845-2333


Scuba Shack/Wet Dreams Charters



DIVE DIRECTORYTROPICAL DIVE DIRECTORY Black Jack Tech Diving Atlantis Charters Discovery Diving Co.


(910) 426-3483


Atlantic Beach

6pack Charter Store/Charter


(252) 728-2265

Carolina Beach

(910) 458-7390


Seahorse Charters


(252) 617-2641


Dive Hatteras


(703) 818-1850

Charter Charter

Cape Fear Dive Center

Conch Republic Divers


(800) 274-3483


Outer Banks Diving


(252) 986-1056

Narcosis Scuba Center

Tarpon Springs

(727) 934-6474


Diver Style Scuba


(704) 289-2089


Megalodon Charters


(941) 483-3483


Morehead City

(252) 726-9432


Blue Grotto


(352) 528-5770


New Bern

(252) 638-3432



(252) 491-8475


The Dive Shop on McEver


(770) 503-0040



(252) 439-4390



(678) 407-2442



(770) 973-7909


Charleston Scuba


(770) 389-9949


Low Country Scuba Coastal Scuba

GEORGIA Dive Dive Dive, Inc. The Dive Shop Wet Scuba & Travel

True Blue Watersports Scuba Ventures

Baton Rouge

(225) 927-3483


Lake Charles

(337) 310-1681



(318) 222-3483



(985) 641-9888


West Monroe

(318) 324-0204


(410) 381-1994


(228) 392-7830


Coral Reef Dive Shop Underwater Treasures, Inc.

Divin' Dawgs Ghost Fleet Dive Charters

LOUISIANA Underwater Adventures

Olympus Dive Center

Rum Runner Dive Shop


Columbia d'Iberville



Divencounters 877.323.DIVE Red Mangrove 00593.2.3823801/3823941

HondUraS Utila Tours 800.668.8452 337.893.0013

indonESia Deep Blue Adventures 888.266.2209 Island DreamsTravel 800.346.6116 Kungkungan Bay Resort & Spa 530.347.2300 Lembeh Hills Resort 62.812.441.18.000 Pindito Liveaboard 831.818.8594 Quest Dive Adventures 770.992.8414 Tasik Ria Resort Spa & Diving 62.431 -.824.445 Worldwide Dive and Sail 866.258.6398

Northeast Dive News JANUARY 2008


Mount Pleasant

(843) 884-1500


N. Myrtle Beach

(800) 249-9388


call (360) 240-1874 or email us at


(843) 763-3483

To be listed in our Dive Dive Directory

MARYLAND Columbia Scuba, Inc.


To be listed in our Tropical Dive Directory call 360.240.1874 or email us at

MExiCo Abyss Dive Center 52.984.873.2164 Aquanauts Dive Adv. 998.206.9365


Atlantis Dive Resort 775.588.0500 Deep Blue Adventures 888.266.2209 Island DreamsTravel 800.346.6116

rEd SEa - EgYPt Fly & Sea Dive Adventures 888.995.DIVE(3483) Learning Through Travel 516.781.5556


SEa of CortEZ/SoCorro iSlandS Rocio Del Mar 602.558.9580

St. Croix (U.S. Virgin iSlandS) BVI Scuba 284.540.2222 Cane Bay Dive Shop 340.773.9913 Jost Van Dyke 800.778.8066

St. kittS Dive St. Kitts 869.564.8914

tUrkS & CaiCoS Oasis Divers 649.946.1128 Dive Provo 649.946.5040

CoCo View Resort Roatan 800.282.8932

To be listed in our Tropical Dive Directory call (360) 240-1874 or email us at

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

23 23

World’s Capitol Of Underwater Critters

Kasawari is a boutique lifestyle dive resort that has been designed with complete catering to divers and serious photographers.

Welcome to the Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia - home of pygmy seahorses, hairy frogfish, stargazers, wunderpuses, Rhinopias - and where there’s great diving all year round.

Ten luxurious villas, a beachfront infinity-edge swimming pool with its built-in jacuzzi, superb cuisine served at our upper level restaurant, a large camera room with individual work-stations, a beachfront dive center with hyper-filtration filling system and special after-dive massage menus - all supported by the services of Kasawari’s friendly and hospitable staff - contribute to make Kasawari the perfect base to enjoy safe and relaxing diving in the Lembeh Strait. 24

or E mail us at Northeast Dive News JANUARY 2008

May 2011 Vol 1. Issue 5  

Southeast Dive News May 2011

May 2011 Vol 1. Issue 5  

Southeast Dive News May 2011