Panama City Beach May 2011
Paula and I traveled to Panama City Beach May of 2011. ·We call these trips "Drive, Drive, Drive - Dive, Dive, Dive. ·We did not drive straight through, but left in the evening and traveled down to Kentucky. ·We drove the remainder of the trip on Friday.
We dove with Panama City Divers on the dive boat Steel Stringer.· Paula and I got our gear ready.· I (Denny) threw my mask in the common mask·bucket with everyone else's mask.· I know better than that.· Stupid won again.·· While writing the article I am suffering from Bronchitis.· We had a similar problem in Cozumel one time and it took out our entire club.· I will never put my mask in the common bucket again.· It contains snot from every diver that has used it.· ·One of the diver's whose mask was in the basket said he had a terrible cold and couldn't do the second dive.
The first dive was on the Liberty Ship.· Two things stand out about the Liberty Ship.· First, its size was much larger that I expected.· Second was the lifeless turtle laying on the deck where the boat was tied off.·The divemaster had seen the turtle laying there when he tied the chain to the Liberty Ship.· Paula and I examined the turtle visually and she took many pictures.· I signalled her that the turtle was dead; she agreed.· I thought about rolling the turtle over to see if I could determine cause of death.· I have watched way too much CSI.· Look at the picture below and determine for yourself if the turtle is dead.
We were back on board the boat and the dive master went in to remove the chain from the Liberty Ship.· The turtle was gone.· Everyone thought it was dead.· Other divers said they touched it.· It never moved until we left. Glad I didn't touch it. ·It was the deadest looking turtle I have ever seen.
The second dive was on the Red Sea.· The Red Sea is a 125 foot tug that was sunk June of 2009 as an artificial reef for divers and fisherman.· This is a great wreck to dive with easy penetrations and a maximum depth of around 75 feet.· The engine compartment was open and Paula got some great pictures.
There were spectacular silverside bait ball fish around the Red Sea with jacks zooming in and out of the bait balls.·There were several baracuda hanging around, just waiting for some unfortunate silverside to be stunned making it·easy prey for the baracuda.
Bridge Span 12
The bridge spans are always great dives.· The amount of sea life on each bridge span is amazing.· If I was a spear fisherman, the bridge span is where I would hunt.· The bait fish are plentiful.
On the second day we switched dive boats to the "Better Bottom Time". Paula and I liked this boat the most. The first dive was to a wreck site named "Twin Tugs". Two tugs were placed side by side as an artificial reef. A winter storm came up and placed the tugs one on top of the other making the site look like a true shipweck. There was a huge Cobia on the wreck that no one could get close to. I guess that is why he is a big Cobia.
Both pictures show the tugs on top of each other. Nature is still the best at placing artificial reefs.
The last dive of the trip was back at Bridgespan 12. We would have rather done a different dive but thought it would be nice for the othere divers to see the life on the bridge span. Oh the way back in to the dock we were met by friendly dolphins. One mother dolphin brought her baby to the boat for us to see. A second big male came up to the boat and came out of water just feet from me. It was the closest wild dolphin encounter I have ever had.