Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Release Date 6/16/2007
Chief to Brody and Quint: "Wer'e gonna need a bigger boat...." That's kind of what we were thinking on this trip. The plan was to go 100 miles due West from New Port Richey where I used to live, and was visiting to an area called the Florida Middle grounds. It's an area of limestone ledges in the Gulf of Mexico. The sea floor goes up from over 120 feet to 80 or 90 feet, before falling away to much deeper depths.
My friends and I had always wanted to go there, and we picked this day to give it a try. Our other friends had left the day before and were going fishing all night, and the next day. We would meet them, do some scuba diving, then both go home together. Our boat got less than 2 miles to the gallon, and had a 110 gallon fuel tank, so we had to bring over 50 gallons of reserve fuel in extra tanks stashed around the boat.
I was awake at 4:30, and we left the dock at 6:00AM, we were out in the Gulf and up to speed by 6:30. We saw a great sunrise; almost all of them are great, I'm usually just too busy sleeping to enjoy them. We made it to the rendevous spot with our other friends at 10:15, about 95 miles from shore.
We did 3 dives total, but couldn't stay down very long. There were lots of fish, grouper, angelfish, grunts, and hogfish. Since we were spearfishing we focused on the grouper. It was pretty deep, 80 to 90 feet, and the visibility was not great, only about 30 feet, and because of the depth we had to hover around 60 feet most of the time, to make the dive last long enough, as it was we turned each dive on time, not air. The bottom, life, and visibility was not much different than other places in the gulf, but there were many more fish because there is so little fishing pressure.
It was a really long trip, we left the dock at 6:00AM, and met-up with our friends at 10:15, the trip back was even a little longer because the waves were against us. We saw a sunrise, and a sunset, both from the entrance to the river.
Truth: Things look bigger underwater.