Reef Report - July 26

Our 1st dive was to a new site called Round Window Reef.  Maximum depth was 25 feet, and the visibility ws up to 30 feet. Seas were 2 to 3 feet, and there was no current. The water temperature was 85 degrees. There were schooling Blue Runners and caves filled with Copper Sweepers. Reef fish sightings including sub-tropical fish typical for the area.

We went to Emerald Reef for the 2nd dive. The depth was 25 feet, and the visibility ranged from 30 to 40 feet. There was little current and the seas were 2 feet or less. Water temperature was a scorching 88 degrees at the top, and 84 degrees at depth.  Again, the fish theme was sub-tropical. Threatening weather in the form of a thunderstorm failed to develop.

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Only 20 15 8 6 Slots Remaining!

NEW! Coral Restoration Dive

September 6 in Key Largo

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NEW! Ocean Pointe Suites is offering lodging discounts for ADA members. Click here for more information.

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June 7 Dive - Spectacular!

This past Saturday, 11 divers descended upon Key Largo aboard Rainbow Reef's Tropical Voyager for a pair of spectacular dives! The first dive to Woody’s Reef in the French Reef complex, had 50 foot visibility. We cruised at a 30 to 50 foot depth with light current, 80 degree water temperature, very light seas, and an abundance of tropical marine life. Our second dive can only be described as Chamber of Commerce perfect. We dove on Fire Coral Reef in the popular Molasses Reef system, with 79 degree water, flat seas and an amazing 100 foot visibility! This was a picture-perfect Keys dive with sharks, turtles, morays, sting rays, large groupers, and more reef fish than we have seen in a while. Unfortunately, no one brought along a camera to record what many commented was the best dive they had been on in a long time! It doesn’t get much better than this.

--by Daryl Johnson and Dan Baeza

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ARE TANKS INCLUDED?

A common and legitimate question we hear from our members. The answer is yes and no.  Some dive shops/boat captains include tanks, others do not.  Their reasons vary, but some find private tanks, for example steel 120s, do not fit in in the boat's custom-designed tank racks, others consider tanks a part of their professional service.  When in doubt, just refer to our dive schedule page and those operators including tanks as part of their service will display "TANKS INCLUDED".  If it is not noted, tanks are not included.

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My First Dive With ADA

Miami Reef Dive - May 24, 2014

I descended into an immediate “fly-by” as a southern stingray (Dasyatis americana) buzzed me.  I turn to find my buddy, Roger Bach and find him I did, mounted on the head of a lion!  Not the fish, but a statue surrounded by Romanesque columns and court yards.  This was my introduction to the Neptune Memorial Reef off of Miami.   After a stop to check in with Lon and practice our buoyancy skills, Roger’s antics continued, posing atop pillars and posing me on the steps.  This was a very interesting site with lots of tropical fish and invertebrate life.  Unlike a typical wreck or reef dive however, the structure consisted of monuments and plaques of dearly departed divers and the like.  One of the highlights of the dive was a large sundial guarded by a mature Damselfish, who became quite disgruntled at my buddies intrusion.  Along with reef butterflyfish, tangs and box fish we saw an unusual pair of filefish that are not common in my usual stomping grounds further south.  In the Keys, we usually see Scrawled filefish, Aluterus scriptus.  I have tentatively identified these as Orange filefish, Aluterus schoepfii.  They were quite comical and unconcerned with my presence, allowing me to get a good photo.   Another interesting find was a large sea cucumber whose underside begged for a close-up.  Feeding in the sand along the periphery were some spotted goatfish, Pseudupneus maculates.   It was interesting to watch them dig into the sand like it was a grand buffet.  Along with an outstanding variety of soft corals and sponges, the sights of this dive were really fun, despite average visibility.  This was my first trip to the Neptune Memorial reef, even though I have dove South Florida for over thirty years and I would recommend that all divers make it a point to go at least once.

Our second dive was on the Emerald Gardens, a short move of the boat and surface interval away.   The visibility dropped off a little more, but as always, this site had an abundance of tropical fish species, including but not limited to butterflyfish, angelfish (including a striking gray in transition from juvenile to adult with bold yellow stripes), lizardfish, damsels, barracuda, hamlets, wrasses, squirrelfish, along with the usual hinds, snappers, grunts  and many more.  The intricate network of small caves, mounds, and overhangs provided plenty of habitats to explore and frequently, Glassy Sweepers,Pempheris schomburgki, were schooling in the caverns.  Lionfish were remarkably scarce as opposed to the last time I was there, indicating that the encouragement of divers to hunt them is paying off, at least locally.  Although I missed them, two sea turtles were spotted shortly after getting in the water as well.  I think my favorite fish on this dive was a trumpetfish, Aulostomus maculatus, peaking at me through the fronds of a soft coral as if posing shyly.  I also saw a small eel of a species I have never encountered before.  I didn’t get a very good photo of it, but it may have been a Goldentail Moray Eel, Gymnothorax miliaris.  Indeed an unusual find, listed as uncommon to South Florida, but common to occasional in the Caribbean and Bahamas.  I returned to the boat to find a group of divers “playing” tag with a nice sized Spiny Lobster, Panulirus argus.  Lucky for the lobster, the season is closed.   But the pool is almost always open in South Florida!

Overall, my first official ADA dive was a very satisfying experience, diving with competent divers working together with a great captain and crew on Paradise Divers new and comfortable 45’ Newton.  My only recommendation for the boat would be to add a camera dip.  I look forward to many more great experiences diving with ADA! (Go to the Photo Galley for more photos).

--by Mark Silverman

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Moved or Changed Email Addresses Lately?

If so, please email or call us with your current information. you may send an email to Dr Dan Baeza, Membership Chair at dmbaeza@bellsouth.net. You can also call Dan at 954-260-8225 and leave a message with your new contact information.

If you haven't renewed yet for the 2014 season, you may still do so. You may pay by check or online. Go to http://activedivers.org/Membership-Renewal.html to renew your membership online. To pay by check, mail a check made out to "Active Divers Association"  with the appropriate amount to:

Dr. Dan Baeza
Membership Chairman - Active Divers Association
7592 Parkview Way
Coral Springs, FL 33065

Be sure to include your snail-mail and email addresses.

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Photo courtesy of ADA member Carol Cox

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