Flower Garden Banks 3 Day Trip Report with Photos & Video

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mcohen1021

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Thanks for the tip! I suspect figures for 2015 or 2016 would be more generalizable than for 2017, due to the very unusual hurricane season we've had (e.g.: Hurricane Harvey hitting Houston).

I've looked at Trip Advisor in the past to see what other entertainments Freeport, TX might have in case a visitor got blown out & was stuck a few days. I take it Freeport's not a really 'happening' place...

If I ever finally get around to booking a trip to fly down & try the Fling, I'd ideally like to do 2-trips within a week (maybe a 2-day, 1 day break, then a 3-day?), if that's practical. It would entail enough diving to justify dedicating a week of vacation time, car rental, etc...to it.

Anybody know if any LDS around there rents big tanks (I'm talking 120 or 130-cf steels, LP or HP)? From what I understand the diving is mostly deep, with much of the dive spent at depth, lending itself to nitrox, so I imagine for some of us a steel 120 would be very nice to have...

Richard.

1. Check their Facebook page - they announce their go-no go decision on there.
2. Freeport is an armpit... If you like hanging out at Buc-ees, plan your vacation there. Otherwise, plan it foe Galveston about 45 min north. G-town is fun.
3. My suggestion is to do a 2 day and go to the beach afterwards (or before). I think you'll be more than happy with 7 dives in 2 days.
 

RyanT

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@drrich2, a 100 cf might be nice, but if your SAC is decent, you won't really need anything bigger than that. You can hit some deeper spots, but IIRC, most of my dives there averaged about 70' or so. I was getting around 50 minute dives on an AL80.
 

flyingDiver75

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Thanks for the tip! I suspect figures for 2015 or 2016 would be more generalizable than for 2017, due to the very unusual hurricane season we've had (e.g.: Hurricane Harvey hitting Houston).

I've looked at Trip Advisor in the past to see what other entertainments Freeport, TX might have in case a visitor got blown out & was stuck a few days. I take it Freeport's not a really 'happening' place...

If I ever finally get around to booking a trip to fly down & try the Fling, I'd ideally like to do 2-trips within a week (maybe a 2-day, 1 day break, then a 3-day?), if that's practical. It would entail enough diving to justify dedicating a week of vacation time, car rental, etc...to it.

Anybody know if any LDS around there rents big tanks (I'm talking 120 or 130-cf steels, LP or HP)? From what I understand the diving is mostly deep, with much of the dive spent at depth, lending itself to nitrox, so I imagine for some of us a steel 120 would be very nice to have...

Richard.

The Fling's Nitrox system rarely filled to over 3100 PSI during my 3 day trip this year - so while I used my HP100 for the buoyancy savings and slight edge over an AL80 on a partial fill, you won't really get full benefits of the larger tank sizes unless they upgrade their fill system. Check their FAQ as I believe they may have a hard limit on 100CF tanks. The Nitrox was super consistent - with a few tenths of 32% every time on 11 fills.

Average profiles can range 70' - 110' depending on your dive preferences. The mooring balls are along the edges of the banks and usually a short swim to a drop off beyond 130'. The walls often had higher concentrations of fish at the trade-off of no-deco time and air consumption.

I recommend the 3-day trip if you have a choice. Most divers rate Stetson Bank over East and West Flower Gardens since the lack of coral cover puts all the fish and macro out in the open. On the 3-day trip you get a full day (5 dives) on Stetson.
 

ReefHound

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The Fling's Nitrox system rarely filled to over 3100 PSI during my 3 day trip this year - so while I used my HP100 for the buoyancy savings and slight edge over an AL80 on a partial fill, you won't really get full benefits of the larger tank sizes unless they upgrade their fill system. Check their FAQ as I believe they may have a hard limit on 100CF tanks. The Nitrox was super consistent - with a few tenths of 32% every time on 11 fills.

It's not a matter of upgrades. Banks are filled to 4500psi. There is a built-in cutoff set at 3300 to allow cooloff to 3000. If the filler does it nice and slow, you might end up at 3100. Our dive schedule means fills have to be done fairly fast. We fill up to six tanks at a time on the nitrox system. It would be difficult to keep track of tanks with different limits within the same round of fills. It's already difficult to handle LP2400 but overfilling steel tanks is one thing, overfilling aluminum is another. Cavers have been known to do some crazy overfills but only with steel.

I'm not saying it couldn't be done but there would need to be some revisions to the process to ensure safety and it would make the timeline even tighter. I can think of a few ways (fill hp last, audible alarm over 3300, etc) but that's a policy decision beyond my pay grade.
 

flyingDiver75

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It's not a matter of upgrades. Banks are filled to 4500psi. There is a built-in cutoff set at 3300 to allow cooloff to 3000. If the filler does it nice and slow, you might end up at 3100. Our dive schedule means fills have to be done fairly fast. We fill up to six tanks at a time on the nitrox system. It would be difficult to keep track of tanks with different limits within the same round of fills. It's already difficult to handle LP2400 but overfilling steel tanks is one thing, overfilling aluminum is another. Cavers have been known to do some crazy overfills but only with steel.

I'm not saying it couldn't be done but there would need to be some revisions to the process to ensure safety and it would make the timeline even tighter. I can think of a few ways (fill hp last, audible alarm over 3300, etc) but that's a policy decision beyond my pay grade.

Thanks for the clarification! I know our trip's tank filler did a yeoman's job getting everyone refilled between dives - usually finishing with not a lot of time to spare.
 

drrich2

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Those are some nice photos, especially coming off a 9-dive trip.

Regarding prior posts, thanks for the head's up about the tank filling situation.

Richard.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/swift/

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