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rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


Great OP. I still wouldn't mind seeing a section about where all our goon divers are located for potential dive meetup purposes. I'm in Orlando and don't mind travelling a few hours to make a dive. I've dove in Jupiter a few times now.

IM FROM THE FUTURE posted:

Those numbers are very high. An into freediver in a class using specific breathing techniques (that can be a bit dangerous) may reach 5 minutes doing "static apnea" (laying face down in a pool perfectly still) if he is in shape/naturally good at it. But 2-3 minutes is common for starters. A beginner doing "dynamic apnea" (aka swimming, finning, or pulling) will probably have a breath hold of under 1 minute.

Expert/training freedivers can hold their breath in static apnea for 5-10 minutes. with 11.5 being the current record. Again, this is lying 100% still. In dynamic those numbers go way down with experts in the 3-5 minute range depending on the type of dive. For instance, in that video, they used scooters to get down to the wreck so they didn't waste oxygen (that is why they can climb all over it 100 feet down)


If you want to see some crazy free diving, check out this video. This just blows my mind.

http://player.vimeo.com/video/18214566?autoplay=1

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rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


Bishop posted:

Did some cleaning up of the OP.

As far as location: I go to Key Largo 3-4 times a year, sometimes spending over a month. That's where I do most of my diving. I'll be down there next around March 12th. I've got a boat in Key Largo and would also be up for some diving within a couple hours drive from there.

I mainly do tech diving, especially wrecks, but am up for anything that has the word "diving" in it.

edit: If people want to post their location / type of diving I'll come back through this thread in a week or so and edit a goon diver list into the OP. It would look something like:
USERNAME (Location): Likes to do this type of diving, enjoys long walks on the beach.

I've still yet to do any wreck diving and want to learn it. I'm still pretty new to the sport, but I'm learning pretty rapidly because one of my dive buddies up here is an instructor so he's got me learning new things pretty quickly. Should be getting my advanced cert pretty soon, I've got 3 or 4 of the 5 dives needed to get it. I haven't really gotten into tech diving, but I'm already enriched air certified and I've done the hole in the wall in Jupiter at 144 feet. Here's a quick summary.

rockcity (Orlando, FL): Fairly new, PADI certified with Nitrox, open for any type of diving withing a few hours of Orlando. Have equipment and two tanks.

rockcity fucked around with this message at 21:06 on Feb 19, 2012

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


You could also wear a thin lycra dive skin. I have one for when I dive in warm water areas that have a lot of Jellyfish or other rough things I may graze into.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


Bishop posted:

Elaborating on this, with the "standard" SCUBA setup, always try and keep your instrument gauge and octopus (backup regulator) clipped onto you. Another thing that I used to do is cradle them in my hands near my waist. This way you wont be dragging stuff around on the reef or entangling yourself. another benefit is that you know where they are when you need them. A instrument console or octopus can float around behind you in some awkward to find areas.

Agreed, I clip mine to the D-ring on my left shoulder strap. There is just enough slack to where I can read everything with it still clipped, but not enough to where it's swinging about.

Question related to freediving/snorkeling with a wetsuit. How much weight would you need to balance out a 3mm wetsuit roughly? I'm assuming just a few lbs. I've never worn weight when snorkeling/pseudo-freediving, but I've never done it with a wetsuit. I'm going to be passing through Venice, FL tomorrow and figured I'd swing by the beach and go dive for some shark teeth off the coast.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


IM FROM THE FUTURE posted:

It depends a good deal on bodyfat, lung capacity, and the exact makeup of the suit (2piece or not, hooded or not, etc). But people generally use around 10lbs of weight to become neutral at 20-30ft in a 3mm wetsuit.

It's a one piece, non-hooded wetsuit. I don't think I'll really be going that deep on this venture though. Most of the shark teeth are in shallow water from what I've read. I'd wager I'll probably be closer to the 10 ft range. I'm going to bring my whole set of weights with me to find out how much is comfortable for me.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


IM FROM THE FUTURE posted:

If you are diving shallow you can weight yourself towards the lower end of that 20-30ft number. But I wouldn't go too far beyond it.Maybe at most enough weight to be neutral at 15ft or so. Even if you are diving 10ft and it means never going neutral. Any more weigh then that and you will be too heavy on the surface, which is both dangerous and annoying (you will sink every time you exhale).

Yeah, that was my thinking. I don't want to not be buoyant at the surface, but I don't want to be a cork with a full wetsuit with no weight.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


I'd also like to add that when you're buying gear before you even try diving you have no idea what your preferences are in gear, especially with the BCD more than anything.

Personally I'd just start with a set of fins/mask/snorkel before starting your certification for a few reasons. The rest of the gear is provided for you in 99% of classes at no additional cost, so you're not saving any money going in with your own gear. Newcomers always say something along the lines of, I'd like to learn on my own gear since that's what I'll be using. While that's true, a regulator is a regulator for all intents and purposes. The big differences are subtle and as a new recreational diver, you won't notice anything but the airflow differences which are subtle in basic units. The big difference between BCD is the inflation style. There are three main types; jacket, back-inflation and backplate/wing. Jacket styles are what most people learn on for a few reasons. They're the most common in the industry and because the air bladder goes all the way around the body, it floats you upright on the surface. Backplates/wings are the exact opposite. They are very minimalist and all the inflation is on your back. They are basically a harness and an air bladder and that's about it. Back-inflation is a nice go-between and it's what I dive personally. The big benefit to having the air bladder on the rear is that it floats you horizontally in the water which reduces your drag in the water which makes kicking a lot easier and you consume a lot less air because of this.

After these items the main thing left is gauges/computer. You can get buy on gauges, but once you use a computer, you'll never go back. They make things a lot easier, especially when you're getting towards your nitrogen limits and no decompression time (you'll learn about these in class).

You can find some great deals on used gear if you look around, but you need to know what to look for and having an air tank to test things helps. If you know someone who has one, ask them to come with you to check things out. I got a bunch of steals buying things off of craigslist and scubaboard. Between buying fins and a mask as a package and buying the rest used/new from the aforementioned sources I got what was probably $1600 in gear for about $900.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


Awesome photos. I love the black and white ones, it really fits well with the age of the wreck.

I can second you on the Oceanic Viper fins, it's what I dive with now and I like them a lot. They kick really easy, but still seem to have good power when you get moving. I have an Oceanic frameless mask that I like a lot too. Speaking of fins, I'd recommend going with the boot style vs. slip on style. You seem to get more power out of the boot style with the way the do the footbed and beyond that, you have something to walk around in either on the boat or the shore.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


standardtoaster posted:

Does anyone dive anywhere other than awesome places, like brown lakes in the middle of Texas? There is a surprisingly large dive community in the Dallas area with a few local mediocre (for Texas, even though they seem terrible) dive locations. Of course most of these people only dive on vacation. I've always loved snorkeling and skimmed the surface of skin diving. I want to start diving but unfortunately I live in the middle of loving Texas and I'm not sure how horrible this is with regard to actual diving.

If I'm not mistaken, Texas has a bunch of quarry diving that actually has some pretty clear water. I know that Lake Travis is also a big diving location for Texas, though I'm not sure how far that is from you. Keep in mind that just because you get dive certified, doesn't mean that you have to invest in your own gear. There are plenty of people out there who dive maybe once or twice a year and just rent gear when they go. The way I look at it is it's nice to have for those times that you take a vacation somewhere and you'd be kicking yourself if you didn't have your certification to go diving.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


I'm looking to replace my old Nikonos V camera with something digital that I can learn on before really investing in underwater camera gear. What are people's thoughts on this setup?

http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/classifieds-photography/412202-sea-life-dc-1000-extras.html

I have two Nikonos SB-105 strobes, so I could add one of those slaved as a second strobe. The big downfall for me is that there isn't a RAW mode so I'd have to use the preset white balance settings on the camera. Should I try making a lowball offer, maybe $400 to see if he bites?

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


MA-Horus posted:

Just got my certification card in the mail. Terrible picture, but that doesn't matter.

Do people keep a log-book and their cards? It seems like just one more thing to take on a vacation.

I keep my card in my wallet, mostly because shops should be asking for it if you're filling tanks and things like that. I keep my log book, but mostly just to jot down dive locations and dive times so I can track my total time underwater. When you have a dive computer it makes filling out a logbook really easy.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


SlicerDicer posted:

Anymore I am not generally worried about it. I have the rebreather that is lunacy level of gas time, I then have the 23cf tank I can bailout onto with the BOV.. Failing that I carry a minimum of 40cf bailout with me.. Generally speaking I have enough air to sink a battleship for recreational depths.


Where you wanting to liveaboard? And what depths are you doing to need more than 19cf? I mean even breathing like a freight train you should be able to get the hell out? Is that not the idea in a emergency? Or are you in overhead?

BTW I will note my highest rate of breathing ever recorded was 1.45cf/min(Swimming like a IDIOT).. thats 3 mins at 130ft.. I R Confused?

Beyond that, you should be diving like you DO NOT HAVE that pony bottle. At no point in your diving unless you physically run out of air or have a problem should it be used. Like SlicerDicer said 19cf is plenty of air to get out of an emergency. If something goes wrong, you should start surfacing right away, not treating it like a second tank of air.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


As mentioned about the Mosquito is discontinued, but if the newer model is similar I can vouch for it as I dive a Mosquito now. I picked it up for cheap used and it does exactly what I need it to. As someone else also pointed out, it's pretty conservative. I usually adjust my Nitrox to one percentage point lower than I'm actually diving which puts it right on with table values. It's a pretty simple computer, but it has everything I need and it's backlit for deep depths and cavern type situations.

Edit: I picked up a used digital camera and housing last week and it arrived yesterday. It's a 5 year Olympus SP-350, but despite its age, it's quite capable and has everything I need. It shoots RAW and manual which were my main required features. The big selling point was that the previous owner modified it with a special adapter that turns the hotshoe on the camera into a TTL Nikonos strobe adapter so I can use my Nikonos SB-105 strobes TTL. Sadly I don't have a dual cable right now, but I can cable one and slave the other. I do need to find a way to modify the tray that he had so I can put both of my strobe arms though, currently it can only take one arm, but I should be able to modify it a bit to hook up my other arm.

rockcity fucked around with this message at 23:40 on Mar 4, 2012

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


drat dude, this all sounds awesome. It's getting me really excited for when I make my hike to the Keys the first week in August. If you happen to be down there then, I'd definitely like to meet up to check some of this out.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


DeadlyMuffin posted:

Maybe it's a liability thing?

Bingo. That's a lawsuit waiting to happen if they don't lock you out and something bad happens. Why would they want to give you any sort of mode that would let you back in the water and allow THEM to provide you with any bit of information. If their equipment kept giving you feedback it would be really easy for them to be sued.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


IM FROM THE FUTURE posted:

Right, and I just mean with that particular head-strap. It feels secure and hard to not notice coming off your head. But under water it seems to quietly sneak away when people are distracted with important diving stuff. I know like 2-3 people who have lost them that way. Now they just bolt it to the mask. Which is an all around better solution.


I'm planning on getting one within the next few months and was considering doing a bolt on to my mask too. The other option I thought of for a quick and dirty failsafe would just be zip tie the head strap to my mask strap. Eventually I would want to find a mask that would work with it though. My Oceanic is frameless so there's really nothing good to mount it to on that one.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


Bishop posted:

A good wall dive where you swim over a ledge and all of the sudden there are thousands of feet of water below you is incredible. It really gives you an "astronaut" feeling. Also drift dives or drift decompressions. You gotta be careful checking your depth gauges though because it's easy to ascend/descend a bunch without realizing it because you have no point of reference.

Murky water is just kind of boring but I'll take it over no diving at all. Also a nice murky quarry is a great place to practice underwater navigation.

I just remembered that you asked what "wall dives" I had done in South Florida and I can't remember where it was. I did it in 1999 or something. Maybe near Alligator reef. Wherever it was it sucked. No reef or fish life and the drop off was not very steep.

I've dove a wall in Jupiter that has an open cavity that you can swim through and pop back out on top. The dive charter I went with just referred to it as "the hole in the wall" not sure if it has a real name. It's down around 140ish feet. It was a pretty cool dive and my first beyond 100 feet as well as my first Nitrox dive. One of the cooler parts of that area is that there is usually a big school of Goliath Grouper that hang out near the entrance. Those things are pretty awesome looking.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


Diver Dick posted:

Besides, if its muddy as hell, I can't see no matter what light I'm using

If I had to guess, using the big powerful can lights might even be worse, much like using high beams vs. fog lights in foggy road conditions anyway, so you might be better off with your found UK light.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


Crunkjuice posted:

Its a liability thing. Once you complete the PADI bookwork/exams, you're then able to work with students under the direct supervision of an instructor.

That sounds right, we had an assistant in my OW course who was working on DM and had done the bookwork, he just needed the experience and more dives to get the certification.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


I'm not a vintage diver, but I do own a 30+ year old Aqualung/US Divers Conshelf regulator. I've only dove with it in a pool just to test it out, but it works just fine. It was my dad's for many many years and he gave it to me when he had to stop diving. Before I ever took it out on a real dive I ended up getting a steal on a Cressi MC5 so the old Conshelf is just hanging around the house.

rockcity fucked around with this message at 00:23 on Mar 28, 2012

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


Studebaker Hawk posted:

For the goon who asked last page (posting from phone) we ended up going with Scuba Junction as they seemed like a good bunch of people, not too big, not too small. My wife and I have our instructor to ourselves and finish our open water tomorrow. Rough waters and lovely visibility on our first day made for an anxious first lesson, but today was awesome.

As if photography wasn't bad enough, why do I gravitate towards such loving expensive hobbies?

You clearly haven't looked at what underwater camera gear costs have you? Oh god, please don't look, think of the children!
(I'm a photographer too and this is going to be the death of my wallet)

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


Crunkjuice posted:

gently caress snorkels.

I'm inclined to agree. Mine always kept getting stuck in the hoses coming off my first stage and it was yanking my head back. I had to modify it just so it wouldn't happen. I typically don't even dive with it anymore. Someone I dive with mentioned getting a collapsible snorkel to toss in a pocket, but I haven't gotten around to it.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


Bishop posted:

Also it's getting to be summer. Anybody got trips/training planned yet? I know macado is doing deco procedures which is a good class that opens up a ton of doors. E: I'm personally doing divemaster so I can become a master of the diving and help teach people. Other than that, more of the same. There's lots of wrecks up along the eastern Florida coast that I've never dove and I've finally got a bead on some people that run private charters to them. You gotta hot drop onto a lot of them which is like my favorite thing in the world to do. It does suck if you miss the wreck though.

Not really any big trips per se, but I mentioned before that I'm heading to the Keys around Aug 2nd-5th. Let me know if you end up being down there around that time. I'd love to head out with you off your boat in Key Largo.

This weekend I'm heading down to Jupiter for a two tank dive and in May I'm going over to Venice to do some shark teeth diving. I've also booked a trip to do the Epcot Dive Quest and dive in their big rear end aquarium in August. I booked a whole tour for 12 people with a dive club I'm part of and it ended up about half the cost that way, which is awesome.

Oh and hot dropping is pretty awesome. The first time I did it, no one on the boat told me that that is what we were doing, so I hit the water with air in my BCD, looked down and people were already 60 feet down or so. All that charter does are hot drops because they're usually aiming for something specific like a feature in the reef.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


Bishop posted:

I'm almost 100% sure I will be. We can do pretty much whatever type of diving you want. I'm on the north side of key largo and about ~20 minutes away from reefs that shops rarely visit because it's too far out of their way. I'm also 45-50 minutes from the artificial wrecks and I can give some pretty cool tours (outside, inside, or both) that stay well within no deco limits.

That's also a standing offer for anyone that posts in these threads. I don't know exact dates yet but I might simply be down there the entire summer.

Hell yes. I'll definitely be in touch closer to the date. I have a full set of gear and a pair of AL80s, so I won't need anything to hit the water. Wreck diving would be awesome. I still haven't had a chance to do one yet, though I think we're doing one this weekend.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


IM FROM THE FUTURE posted:

Rockcity, do you have any more info about the shark-tooth diving? I am super interested in getting some megaldon teeth sometime soon.

I'm going out with the Lockheed Martin Dive Club here in Orlando that I joined last year and they're putting on the dive. I think that the charter is through the Scuba Quest shop in Sarasota, but I'm not 100% positive. The info that was sent out doesn't actually say the name of the charter just the name of the boat which is Conch Quest. The boat leaves out of Nokonis Beach on the north end of Venice. It's a 25-35 foot sand bar area that is supposedly full of the megalodon teeth. The boat captains know of all the hot spots in the area to take you so your odds are really good for coming back with something. I can fill you in with more next month to let you know how it goes.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


SgtScruffy posted:

Has anyone dived in the Baltimore Aquarium by chance? They have it, and Yelp reviews say it's good stuff, but I'm curious as to if any of you guys have done it.

I tried going to Epcot DiveQuest, and had everything booked, but when I got there, they said that they closed it due to some repairs and that they thought they called me. They didn't

Can't say I've done that, but I'm signed up for DiveQuest and I'm pretty excited about it. That sucks that your dive was cancelled.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


SgtScruffy posted:

They gave me a phone number of someone in HR that I could talk to to tell them about my experience. I have a feeling that, because it's Disney, I probably could have called and said how disappointed I was and probably have gotten some sort of ridiculous return trip or something, but I lost the phone number

That sucks, as an annual passholder for a few years now, I can tell you that they're pretty good on making things right. I'm not sure they would have gone overboard, but they'd probably have given you a huge discount to you if you signed up again or maybe just let you do it for free if you told them that DiveQuest was your main reason for coming.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


That's probably your best set yet. I'm a sucker for nice juxtaposition between a strobed subject and a nice blue ocean background. It just makes the photos pop so much more.

Just finished rigging up my new camera to take out with me tomorrow on my dives in Jupiter, FL. I had a Nikonos V which flooded, so I kept the strobes and found someone selling an Olympus SP-350 with a TTL adapter for my Nikons strobes. Also picked up an Inon 105 degree wide angle lens as well. Had to modify the mounting plate on the bottom to be able to fit both strobes. I still need to do some tweaking because it's making getting to the zoom switch a bit difficult.



Edit: Well crap, the dive coordinator for tomorrow just called and said they had to cancel the dive because the seas are expected to be 5-7 feet.

rockcity fucked around with this message at 20:34 on Apr 13, 2012

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


SlicerDicer posted:


That is lame well if they canceled here for that.. I wouldn't dive often LOL

Yeah, it varies by dive charter whether or not they'll dive in those big of swells. Some of it depends on how big the boat is too. I think they just don't want to do with people getting sick mostly. I'm hoping to go out to one of the springs here and do some cavern diving next weekend instead.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


Bishop posted:

In south Florida a lot of shops will cancel trips for 5-7s. The commercial boat I use in Key Largo will take its tech trips out unless the boat is in literal danger of sinking. Ok that's not quite true because you need near perfect conditions for some of the deeper wrecks. What's funny is the hardcore cave divers who get seasick because they rarely ocean dive.

rockcity, Bishop's dive boat of doom goes out in anything less than a category 4 hurricane. In all honesty though I just got this boat last summer and compared to ones I've had in the past it handles rough seas like a dream (heavy, sharp bow, 27 feet), so if I cancel on you it's definitely for a good reason.

Deal! I'd have been fine in those seas, but I've seen people get seasick a few times in pretty mild waves so I can see why they cancelled.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


Does anyone have any dive light recommendations? I'm going to be taking a cavern class soon and my buddy who is going to be the instructor told me I should get three lights, two smaller clip on style lights and one brighter wrist mounted one. I've only used a couple lights before, one was a pistol style light I used over a decade ago for general night dive use and the other was a small Intova that I borrowed from said instructor buddy for diving through a hole in a reef.

Heading down to Venice, FL this weekend to do a shark teeth dive, I better not get washed out by waves again. In the past month I've had two dives scrubbed because of big waves.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


Crunkjuice posted:

For cavern, im sure any primary dive light will suffice since you have to stay within the light zone. For cave however, you need a big ol bitch of a light. Something like 10-30 watt HID canister light retailing from between 700-1000 dollars easily. The wrist mounted light i use is pretty good for a primary light if you've got the scratch to drop for one. http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=Sola1200DiveLight

Yeah, right now I don't have the kind of money for an HID canister style. My buddy said there's no need to get that crazy with lights for right now. I just plan to do some caverning for right now, though my buddy is big into caving and tech diving, so I'm guessing he's eventually going to try to get me into full on caving, but I'm a bit hesitant at the moment. For right now I'd say I'm looking more for the $200-300 range for the set of lights. From my research, the ones that people seem to go to for backups, Intovas and Dorcels seem to be about $40-60 each. The primary is more of what I've seen a boatload of recommendations on. The main thing I'm not sure of is what style of beam I'd want. It sounds like generally the caverns here in Florida have pretty excellent visibility as long as people aren't stirring the crap out of the silt at the bottom. Given the good vis, I'd probably want something wider and less focused right?

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


That is badass looking. Color me jealous.

On a bad note, I can not find my mask. I went snorkeling a month or so ago while on a business trip and I went to check the bag I took my gear in and it wasn't there. It must have fallen out or something on my way back to the car. I'm going out for a dive tomorrow and I have an old really crappy mask that I can use, but I'm really bummed I left my good mask somewhere.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


My shark tooth dive yesterday was pretty underwhelming as well. I only found 3 teeth and none of them were very large at all and one was broken. Beyond that, the visibility in Venice is god awful or at least it was yesterday. Visibility was maybe only a couple feet as far as clear goes and you could maybe see the outline of someone 5-8 feet away. Every now and then these silt clouds would drift by and then you could barely even see your hand in front of you. I was just happy to get back in the water though, it had been a few months.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


Bishop posted:

e: wait Rockcity: , you said you're going cavern and he wants a primary and two backups. Buy the two lights I just posted as backups, apply the bolt snaps for them, then buy a Halcyon, Light Monkey, or Salvo 21 watt HID can light. by "wrist mounted" he means "goodman handle". Sorry about your checkbook. If you're backing off of doing much cave then ignore this, but light is serious business. I have the Halcyon LED can light but if I had it to do over again I'd go with the HID. I'm not unhappy with my primary but it does not have the same beam tightness as the HIDs. Having good beam tightness cuts through silt but is also VERY important for signaling. It sounds simple in theory but below the surface it is not. Drawing a big "O" within the line of sight of the diver in front of you is saying that you are OK and asking if they are. They respond with the same. A slow back and forth movement in their line of sight is asking for attention. A fast one is signaling an emergency. One of my things that my instructor always hounded me on was that I moved my light around too much, making people in front of me think there might be a problem.

As of right now, I don't have any real intentions of doing actual cave diving, just cavern diving right now. When he said wrist mounted, he meant the soft neoprene style holder for a smaller light. He mentioned Intova as a company to take a look at. I've borrowed one of their standard small torch lights from him and it was pretty solid and he said he'd seen a slightly bigger one that you can get a wrist strap for online for around $80 or so. I think he was referencing their wide angle torch.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


All children's birthday parties are henceforth banned from balloon decorations.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


The Heartless posted:

Welp, while in Guam..

After being here a year and absolutely loving the snorkeling, I've decided to get over my 'fear' of deep water and get open water certified (PADI) sometime this summer with my husband and then hopefully do some of the specialty certifications to be able to do enriched air, wrecks and night dives if I can get the nerve.

Has anyone here overcome any kind of fear of water or anything? I haven't always been afraid. I grew up in Florida and have been in the water my whole life but this is something that's come up in the past few years. I love snorkeling and I have no issues going out pretty far into deep water, but the thought of being under the water that deep makes me nervous. I've got a few friends here who are instructors and also divemasters and I trust them immensely and they offered to do a private class for my husband and I. I just don't want to get in the water and freak out.

Also, wetsuits aren't really necessary are they? I'm guessing it's only needed if the water is cold? The water is pretty warm here year round.. 82-86 degrees. Sometimes I see people wearing full suits here during their classes, other times (especially recreational diving around base) you just see people in bathing suits. I don't like the thought of wearing a wetsuit.

Bear in mind that some of the best things to be seen aren't even deep underwater. Tons of gorgeous diving is done in 30 feet or less. There is a bridge in the West Palm Beach area that only gets to about 15 feet deep and you'll see more fish and aquatic life on that dive than you could even believe. Once you get used to being underwater, the depth fear will probably subside. I've never had that fear so I can't really relate, but comfort is key in any dive.

As for the wetsuit, as mentioned above, you probably don't need a wetsuit in that temp water. The thing about exposure protection is that it varies widely from person to person. I see people regularly in that temp water in 5mm or more full wetsuits with hoods and sometimes chest warmers while the guy next to them is just in board shorts. Personally anything above 80 and I won't wear one. I do however wear a thin dive skin just to guard myself from brushing into anything, mostly for my knees. It doesn't add any warmth, but really saves your knees if you graze anything or plant on the ocean floor for anything like taking photos or lobstering.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


Trivia posted:

Goddamn, that would have been pretty boss. I've heard about diving at aquariums, but it's usually super expensive and I imagine not that great considering liabilities and all.

I'm diving the aquarium at Epcot in August which is I think the world's second largest. It was the largest at one point, but I'm pretty sure someone built a bigger one. It is definitely pricey, but if you book an entire tour of 12, you basically get it for half price and then it becomes near the cost of a normal boat dive. I booked a tour for the dive club I'm part of so it was pretty reasonable. Their policies are fairly similar to the sea world ones so I won't get to take any photos, which is what I'd love to do. You can however have someone take photos of you from the outside of the aquarium so I plan to have my girlfriend with me to take a few.

rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


Does anyone have any dive charter recommendations for Key West? I'm working on planning out my Key Largo/Key West trip in August and wouldn't mind booking my dive to make sure I don't run into any booking issues later. Bishop, are you still planning to be down in Key Largo at the start of August? I'll be in Key Largo from August 1st-3rd. August 2nd would probably be the best day for me to dive if you're available.

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rockcity
Jan 16, 2004


I've never been bent, but it's funny you bring it up because my dive club had a meeting last night and the speaker we had come was someone from DAN who came to talk about decompression illness and being prepared in case it happens. It was a really interesting and informative talk and has certainly prompted me to jump up my DAN membership to their actual insurance. He didn't talk much about getting over it though. He'd never actually been bent, but did go into a decompression chamber once because he thought it was. Turned out he just had the flu and the symptoms kicked in just as he surfaced from a big multi-level dive. This was back in the early 90's when multi-level diving was pretty uncommon as computers were new so everyone immediately thought he was bent and not sick.

Also timely to Crunkjuice's story is that he's the manager in charge of all in water safety here at the Orlando Sea World. He worked at the San Diego one for years teaching diver safety and after the big whale incident here two years ago they brought him in to be in charge of basically anytime anyone goes into the water. I wish he had more time to hang around to tell stories about his job.

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