Dive #268 - Rich Torkington's Dive Log
© Copyright 2011 Rich Torkington Mesa, Arizona

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Bottom Time to Date:


Dive Info:

Dive Start:

Bottom Time:
52 minutes

Maximum Depth:
30 feet

Safety Stop:

Beginning Air:
3000 psi

Ending Air:
1400 psi

Weather Conditions:
Windy 84°F

Surface Conditions:
6-8' swells

Surface Water Temperature:

Bottom Water Temperature:

40-60 feet

* * ½
September 27,
Conch Republic Divers
This dive site is well named
Photo by Rich in Florida 2010 
Nice southern stingray
Photo by Rich in Florida 2010 
Dive Journal: Details of this dive day, September 27, 2010, were captured by Rich at our Buen Camino blogsite http://buencamino1.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/ These dives were completed as a part of our road trip tour of Florida.

Cereal for breakfast this morning, then a jump into the SUV down to the dive shop. Conch Republic Divers is located next to a marina.

No hand holding when diving in Florida. The other divers don’t say much and the crew’s greetings are businesslike. We jump onboard the Aquatic Diver to start out a 25 minute pounding ride to the reef. Winds are up around 10-15 knots from the southeast, which makes for some big swells and pretty rough seas.

The safety briefing and dive site briefing are delivered as if by machine gun, not exactly conducive to comprehension. Florida diving. The boat’s weight belt selection look to be about 25 years old, and the only one left for me is an ancient bag-belt with a few uneven weights (Linda has her own integrated weights). I’m immediately wondering if the shop is trying to get you to buy a new one.

The “pool is open” for a giant stride off the bobbing stern platform, and we descend to our first dive site called “Snapper Ledge.”

Linda and I are diving with new applique lenses within our masks to help with magnification. They partially work but are also somewhat distracting.

The site is absolutely loaded with grunts. Clouds of them. Striped grunts, French grunts, white grunts, small grunts, porkfish, thousands and thousands. They’re very diver friendly, so I immediately try experimenting with my new S90 underwater housing setup for a few pictures.

After finning about 80 yards, I find I’m working hard, too hard. Buoyancy is much too positive. I fully dump my BC and lungs, but still I rise with little I can do about it. Even with head straight down, I fin to the bottom to look for a rock to carry, but it is too much effort.

Bummer. In only a few seconds I’m on the surface, and I can’t catch a glimpse of Linda. Fortunate that the depth is only about 20 feet. I thought I had loaded up my usual 8 lbs. All I can figure is that the weights were so badly marked that I haven’t taken enough.

All this happened pretty quickly, and I was sure that Linda was wondering what is going on. Once on the surface, I had little choice but to fin back to the boat, pushing through the big swells. Jason hands me a soft weight bag of probably 3 extra pounds, which I stuff down the front of my wetsuit. Ahh…finally an easy descent – now I had to find Linda.

I find other divers on the ledges and I soon run into her, backtracking from where we departed. I’m impressed with her navigation and I apologize for leaving (my underwater symbol for this is doing the wai). Not much else I could do under the circumstances.

Another 15 minutes into the dive I notice my applique lenses are fully fogged, and I see that Linda’s are, too. Imagine taping half dollars in front of each eye – very distracting.

Ascending to finish the dive, we see the swells are probably 6 to 8 feet, with the boat disappearing from view between them. Boarding the boat on the wildly swinging ladder is the most difficult part of this dive. Linda manages it deliberately and does very well. I hand my fins up and grab hold, but a big swell then crashes the boat into the ladder which then body-slams me in the chest. I haven’t been hit that hard since Phil’s elbow cracked one of my ribs during a basketball game.

Not such a good dive. The thousands of grunts were definitely a highlight. We both ripped the stick-on lenses from our masks and Linda tossed hers into the sea in disgust. Reboarding was certainly a chore, the second most challenging surface conditions I’ve dealt with. My ribs are going to hurt later. My regulator was breathing badly. And, that buoyancy issue… Yeah, not such a good dive.

Note: Details of the entire 2010 Frodia road trip can be found at http://buencamino1.wordpress.com/trips/florida-road-trip-2010/

Tusa Xpert Zoom Splitfin
Oceanic Veo 200
80 ft3 Aluminum
SeaQuest Spectrum 4
Dive Type:
BOAT, Aquatic Diver
Body of Water:
Atlantic Ocean
Tusa Visio Tri-Ex
2mm shortie
Regulator:SeaQuest Spectrum XR2 plus Oceanic Slimline octopus
?9 lb, eventually
Water Type:
Video Equipment:
PowerShot S90 in housing