Trip Report My First Year of Local Diving in South Florida

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Scuba_Jenny

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I knew a diver who moved here from MIchigan. He couldn't understand why Florida divers were so wimpy using a drysuit in the winter balmy water temps..
The following year he understood.

I'm diving a 5mm right now and freezing! Course I don't really swim around much, and have some pretty long bottom times..
 
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Ironborn

Ironborn

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I knew a diver who moved here from MIchigan. He couldn't understand why Florida divers were so wimpy using a drysuit in the winter balmy water temps..
The following year he understood.

I'm diving a 5mm right now and freezing! Course I don't really swim around much, and have some pretty long bottom times..
It has taken a while, but living in Florida has just barely started to impact my cold tolerance, which was high even by New Yorker standards when I first moved here. For example, I remember diving the Spiegel Grove in the dead of winter earlier this year and not even noticing that it was 68 degrees at depth in my 3mil, until I got back on the boat and wondered why other people were shivering. My most recent dives were in Jupiter two weeks ago, and I definitely noticed the beginning of the winter temperature change but was still comfortable in my 3mil with a hood and gloves (for shark diving safety, not for thermal protection.) The cold does not bother me yet, but at least I notice it now.

I still find it funny that people in Miami find 60 degree air temperatures to be cold, such that they start wearing hats, heavier coats, and boots.
 

gamon

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Conch Republic. Cap't Gary used to be on SB years back. Good guy. Good operation.

Conch is my go to dive op when I'm in the Keys. One thing I really like is that even if you're only one diver, if the schedule is open Brenda will schedule your choice of dives including double dips on wrecks if that's what you want. I was just there last week and did the SG, the Duane and the Eagle, double dips on all 3. The weather was crappy for the first 1.5 days so Brenda moved things around to accommodate me and I got all my requested dives in, even though the weather was marginal on one day they still went out.

One issue to be mindful of- when I arrived for my first dive and intended to pay, Brenda said "we can settle up at the end". All good- except she neglected to mention that they offer a multi trip discount card which would have saved me $150 between me and my buddy. Yes it's on a paper taped to the desk but still.. and when I noticed it at the end of the week she said "we already gave you a 3% discount because you paid via cash rather than credit card". As far as I'm concerned the two things are not related.

So make sure you pay in advance and get that multi trip discount if you're going to do several trips with them.

As far as the cold water goes- I decided after last week the next time I dive in Florida from December through February I'm going to use my 5mm hooded wetsuit. The 3/2 just isn't cutting it for my anymore.

It's an age thing
 

Manatee Diver

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It has taken a while, but living in Florida has just barely started to impact my cold tolerance, which was high even by New Yorker standards when I first moved here.

I moved here in February from Wisconsin, we went to the beach, swimming, and all the other things in 58 degree gulf water. Years later I would never do that.
 

chillyinCanada

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A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

There has been a posts and thread cleanup.

It doesn't matter whether people have thick or thin skin, this is not a forum for expressing political views of any stripe.

We agree that the OP has written an excellent report and appreciate very much that OP didn't engage with those critical of the political inclusion.

We have now edited the report to trim out the political comments and due to such, further edited and or deleted posts in the same regard.
 

Pipehorse

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A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

There has been a posts and thread cleanup.

It doesn't matter whether people have thick or thin skin, this is not a forum for expressing political views of any stripe.

We agree that the OP has written an excellent report and appreciate very much that OP didn't engage with those critical of the political inclusion.

We have now edited the report to trim out the political comments and due to such, further edited and or deleted posts in the same regard.
Thank you!
 

stronj1

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The Future

The opportunity to dive locally in South Florida has literally changed my life as a diver. I can dive more frequently and in shorter bursts on weekends without having to travel internationally or even out of state. The two dive operations in Miami are just fifteen minutes from my home. Diving locally has greatly improved my skills as a diver and a photographer by giving me more frequent practice, more opportunities to learn and experiment, and greater familiarity with the local environment. I no longer feel the need to cram all the highlights and as many dives as possible into a limited window of time on a longer trip overseas; I can take my time and achieve my goals at my leisure and at my own pace.

I kept telling myself last year that I should use this opportunity to do more training and expand my skills and certifications beyond AOWD and Nitrox. I had previously been reluctant to use my limited travel time overseas for courses, but now that I live here I have plenty of weekend time to spare. I nonetheless kept procrastinating and was more interested in exploring these new environments. Now that I have settled down and familiarized myself with the area, I can take the time to invest in training that will further enrich my experiences. Wrecks are a significant feature of the underwater landscape here, so I will probably do a wreck diving course. Many of these wrecks, and even some of the reefs in Jupiter, are quite deep or even below recreational depths, so I will also probably pursue some light/introductory tech diving courses as well. I have also been meaning to do a Self-Reliant Diver course for years, ever since I first went to Bonaire. I now have more of a use case for that certification, since my reliance on “instabuddies” does have its occasional downsides and separations are not uncommon in these environments, with occasionally strong currents and sub-optimal visibility.

There is nonetheless still much for me to explore. I am curious as to what the rest of the Keys, such as Islamorada and Marathon, might be like, or if they are just another Key Largo without two of Key Largo's highlights (the Spiegel Grove and Horizon Divers). I have also thought about going further north for the springs, the manatees in Crystal River, and even the Oriskany near Pensacola (once I have the proper tech training). Even closer to home, there are still many wrecks in the Tri-County area that I have not dove yet, including many of the deeper ones for which I would need tech training.
Great information! Thank you for all your reports.
 
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