Travels with Tucker

Travels with Tucker

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Diving with Jeff and Lucas (February 20)

Friday night Lucas drove down from Ft. Myers and arrived around 7. We grilled up some shrimp (the Gulf shrimp are amazingly tasty and fresh) for dinner then took off to pick up Jeff at the airport. Our trailer is roomy for Lynnae and I but living in the trailer with the four of us was going to be “interesting”.

I had booked two days of dive trips for the three of us guys and Lynnae was going to go out in the dive boat with us on the first day to snorkle while we dove. Jeff had done the first half of his dive training in New York and just needed his 4 open water dives to complete his PADI ceritification. We could all go out on the same boat and Lucas and I could dive on our own while Jeff got certified. We left the dock in Key Largo on a beautiful 80-degree afternoon. It was about a 30 minute ride out to M olasses Reef, which is located in John Pennekamp State Park. The reef here ranges from just 10 feet to about 30 feet deep. We did two dives that first day and it was a little choppy at the surface, but we had really nice visibility underwater. There was a bit of a current, which proved to be a problem at the end of the first dive.

It had been about two years for me and more than three for Lucas since our last dives, so we were pretty rusty. It didn’t take long to get more comfortable and we tried to hang around the dive instructor who was putting Jeff and a few others through their paces. We lost them about halfway through our dive and just explored the reef. We didn’t realize how much the current was pushing us until we went up to the surface and saw that our boat was about 100 yards away and against the current. I was getting pretty low on air by this time and started to back stroke on the surface toward the boat. It was a bit dicey for me but Lucas and I did make it back near the boat and one of the dive masters came out and helped me get back to the boat, which was great since I was pretty tired by that time. The next dive, one of the instructors had us stay with her and she gave us a guided tour of the reef and that dive was much more relaxing and fun, since we just had to follow her and look at the fish, coral sponges and eels. We did two more dives the next day and Jeff and Lucas went out the third morning too. We all had a great time diving and saw a couple large (4 ft.) grouper, crabs, a massive manta ray, and thousands of fish. This reef is much nicer than I expected, with 50-foot visibility and beautiful coral and fish.

While we were diving the second day, Lynnae went to a nearby bird refuge and had pelicans walking betweeen her legs and stepping on her feet . Both diving days we weent out to local fish restaurants with that Keys “feel” and great seafood. It was sad to say bye to Jeff, but we were headed back with Lucas to Ft. Myers to spend a few weeks near his home.

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