Question Looking for info on Tampa/Clearwater Fl dive sites

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MrCatDude

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Pacific Northwest
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Good Morning Everyone,
I am going to be in Clearwater, Fl during the week of December 13th.
I’ve never been diving in this area, and was hoping to get some info on some dive sites/ charters in the area, also during this time of year, what thickness of wetsuit would you recommend?
Thanks!
 

CuzzA

Percoidea Wetwork for Hire
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5 mil and up. Preferably open cell. Weather is always the problem this time of year in the gulf as the cold fronts from up north turn up the gulf. Heroes, Two Shea, Narcosis all run trips, but they likely run fewer trips due to demand and weather. Call around and see whats available. Many will try to do the circle of heroes, which is cool to say you dove it, but don't expect much other than algae covered statues in the sand. Personally I'd opt for natural bottom and wrecks. Though there is a wreck next to the statues they will usually hit on the second tank. You're pretty much guaranteed to see a lot of big jewfish, big schools of jacks and possibly fevers of eagle rays. Everything moves in shallow during the winter so there's a lot of activity this time of year. Viz is generally pretty good as well.
 
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MrCatDude

MrCatDude

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5 mil and up. Preferably open cell. Weather is always the problem this time of year in the gulf as the cold fronts from up north turn up the gulf. Heroes, Two Shea, Narcosis all run trips, but they likely run fewer trips due to demand and weather. Call around and see whats available. Many will try to do the circle of heroes, which is cool to say you dove it, but don't expect much other than algae covered statues in the sand. Personally I'd opt for natural bottom and wrecks. Though there is a wreck next to the statues they will usually hit on the second tank. You're pretty much guaranteed to see a lot of big jewfish, big schools of jacks and possibly fevers of eagle rays. Everything moves in shallow during the winter so there's a lot of activity this time of year. Viz is generally pretty good as well.
Thank you!!
 

Divin'Papaw

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I know zilch about diving that area. Glad locals have chimed in. Living in SWFL though, I DO know that the waters in the Gulf get far colder than the waters off of SEFL where I do the majority of my diving. The waters are already in the upper 60s and will bottom out in the low 60s with some upper 50s in the winter (Jan-Feb). Those are drysuit temps for me!
 
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MrCatDude

MrCatDude

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I think Tanks a lot and 2 Shea charters are recommended
Thank you - I just visited Tanks a lot’s website. I’ll check into 2 Shea charters too.
 
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MrCatDude

MrCatDude

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I know zilch about diving that area. Glad locals have chimed in. Living in SWFL though, I DO know that the waters in the Gulf get far colder than the waters off of SEFL where I do the majority of my diving. The waters are already in the upper 60s and will bottom out in the low 60s with some upper 50s in the winter (Jan-Feb). Those are drysuit temps for me!
Thanks for the info. I currently live up in the PNW, so it’s pretty much drysuit for me up here most of the time. I also have a 3mm and 7mm in case I get to go somewhere else. I was in Jamaica last month and no wetsuit was needed. It felt great!!!
 

Manatee Diver

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2 Shea and Tanks a Lot are the same company after the original owner of Tanks a Lot retired a couple of years ago.

It used to be the difference between the two was that that 2 Shea were uninspected six packs and Tanks a Lot was the inspected boat. But then TJ bought that 40ft Newton...
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/swift/
https://xf2.scubaboard.com/community/forums/cave-diving.45/

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