04-06 May 2007
St. Marks & Carrabelle, FL
06 May 07/0745: Whoops!!! No one remembered to set an alarm the night before and it was 0745 by the time any of us woke up. Late start for Day 2 of diving. We got ready and headed out to get the boat. Matt and Steve decided to head out of Carrabelle instead of St. Marks, mainly because the boat stays at Carrabelle and it would easier to leave and came back in there so they could just drop the boat off in it's normal spot and head home instead of having to travel to Carrabelle after the diving was done. Made sense, so we headed to Carrabelle. Because of the late start, we didn't even get the boat in the water until 1230 that afternoon. We didn't do as may dives today, but I actually have more stories to tell than the day before.
Dive 1: Matt took us to a place he called "Horseshoe Ledge." It's a ledge about 2 1/2 feet off the ocean floor that's shaped like a big horseshoe (kind of.) Supposed to be a lot of fish hanging around it and we should get a good number on this dive. We splashed and I had my first trouble of the day. 6 feet down, there was thermocline. The water temp went from 78 degrees to around 68-69. I was wearing my farmer john, but I was only wearing the bottoms. The top was still in my gear bag. Of course, Steve was only wearing a shortie, so who I am to complain, right?? Still... It was COLD!!! I soon as I hit the thermocline, and wasn't expecting it, I had a hard time getting a breath in me. I was taking very shallow half breaths and could not regulate my breathing. Finally, I dumped all the air out of my BC and started to slowly descend. As I was descending, I closed my eyes and just concentrated on my breathing. By the time I got to the bottom at 45 feet, I was used to the water temp and was breathing regular again. I just had to will myself to breathe in, breathe out in long slow breaths while I descended. Once I got down, I found Steve and we started hunting. Steve pointed out my biggest kill of the weekend. A nice sized Trigger fish. I had just pulled my flashlight out to peer under the ledge when Steve pointed him out. So, I dropped the light and pulled the trigger. I didn't take one on the mouth and and got the fish. While I was getting my flashlight back in it's bag, Steve put the fish on the stringer he was carrying. And, here is where the shark shield comes back into play. Steve was wearing it. The way it works: It's battery operated and it just emits an electric pulse into the water to keeps sharks away from you. The whole thing is a rope looking device that trails about 6 feet behind the person wearing it like a big tail off their leg. Of course, everything it touches gets shocked. You can't feel it in the water if you get near it, but if it touches you, you know it. As we were swimming along, the entire right side of my body started twitching in pulses. It took about 4-5 twitches before I figured out that the stupid shark shield was touching my leg and shocking me. It took a few more twitches before I was able swim free of it. It didn't hurt, but it was very uncomfortable twitching uncontrollable at 45 fsw. Luckily, Steve was low on air and we surfaced right after that. This dive was 48 minutes at 45 feet.
Dive 2: This was the dive that almost didn't happen. First off, I was supposed to be on the boat for the first part of this dive while the rest dove. But, one thing led to another and it ended up being just me and Steve doing to dive. Which, to me, that decision really sucked because, again, I had pee like a race horse and now I wouldn't get the chance while everyone was gone like I did the day before. So, I decided it was time to learn how to pee in my wetsuit like everyone else in the world. So, I rolled in and headed towards the bottom. But, for some reason, I was going nowhere!! No matter what I did, I couldn't get down. I even went head down, kicking with all my might and wouldn't go down any more than about 4 feet. I couldn't figure what was wrong. To compound my issue, the waves had kicked up and the surface chop was getting pretty rough. While I was trying to get down, I had worked my way all the way over to the other side of the boat and still was at the surface. After trying so hard, I was exhausted! I finally decided to abort the dive and sit it out. I worked to the back of the boat and told Matt I couldn't get down and had no idea why. He said he would pull me with a buoy stick to the front of the boat and I could descend down the anchor line. Cool. I'll just hang on to the stick and let him drag to the front while I catch my breath. As he pulled me, I reached back the felt the bladder on my BC. There was still air in it!!! That's why I couldn't get down!! I went horizontal so quick, I trapped an air bubble in the BC and was trying so hard to get down, I didn't notice it. After I got to the anchor line, I stayed vertical and let all the air out of my BC. I dropped just like I should have in the beginning. DUH!! I got to the bottom and saw Steve as soon as I got down there. We were on a sunken shrimp boat and it was in great shape. Except for the net pull poles being torn off, the ship was largely intact. Not counting the big hole in it's side. :) Steve and I swam around exploring the wreck and taking pictures when he noticed a 250 Jew Fish off the Port stern. I went after it and got a picture of it. As soon as that picture took, the batteries went dead in my camera, so it was out of commission the rest of the dive. Steve swam off looking for fish to catch while I started to work on relieving my pained kidneys. Now, you hear the stories about how you will never be a "real" diver if you don't pee in your wetsuit. Well, I've come to conclusion that I will never be a "real" diver. I couldn't make myself go in my wetsuit for anything. Nothing I did helped or worked. I almost considered dropping my gear on the bottom and pulling down the wetsuit to go, but the thought of Steve coming back around the wreck and seeing my gear laying on the ocean floor and the rest of "gear" hanging out didn't appeal to me, so I just dealt with the lack of not being able to go. Luckily, for me, this was the last dive of the day and the Marina had a bathroom they were willing to let a wetsuit wearing guy go into. :) By the time we surfaced, the chop was even worse. It almost pulled the boat anchor off the wreck at one point. We were able to get back on the boat with the help of Matt and Becky and I was able to hold it until we got back to the marina a little while later. This last non-descending, battery dying, no-peeing, choppy surface dive lasted a never ending 42 minutes at 45 feet.
After I got to the bathroom, (oh what a relief it was!!!!) we got the boat back on the trailer, washed it down, Matt fueled it up and put it in it's storage spot. He also had a leaking lower unit on the boat motor, so we pulled it off so he could bring it back and get it fixed. After everyone was changed and everything was put in the proper vehicles, we headed back to GA. It was long day and we got back to Macon a little after midnight.
All in all, this was an awesome trip!!! As I have told everyone, I am not a born-again, die-hard spearfisherman. But, I did have a great time and would definitely go back to do it again if the guys ask. I'm just not going to rush out and buy me a 450 dollar speargun. I'll borrow someone else's. :) My brother-in-law, Dale, is dying to try it, so we'll go with him so he can try it out pretty soon.
I do want to thank Scuba Steve for getting me the invite for this weekend and Matt for letting me come along with them.. I had a great time guys!!!!!!!!
Here are the pictures from this trip
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