Monday, April 13, 2009

Diving Key Largo (Or, Everyone Looks Goofy in a Scuba Mask)

Ever since October when I went diving in the Keys I have wanted to get back down there to do some more diving. This Easter weekend my wish finally came true. My brother flew down and joined me for 6 dives off of Key Largo.

We stayed at the Bay Cove Inn ( It was decent and definately worth checking out for the price. The rooms were basic but clean and there were grills and we had free use of kayaks. The grills came in very handy because we were able to cook our own dinners instead of eating out. It was cheaper and at this point in my travels, I will be happy if I dont eat at a restaraunt for a few months.

This was the view from the dock at the Bay Cove Inn. Not quite a sunset into the water like in Key West, but still very impressive.

And we also dove some. On Friday, we signed up for 4 dives. Two were in the morning at 9am and then 2 more at 1pm. We showed up to the dock and got on board the boat. The other people on our trip boarded as well and began to set up their respective gear. Besides my brother and me, there were 9 other divers on board. It is a bit more than I like but I wasn't too worried until the guy next to me asked a question. "Do you know how to set this stuff up? Its been a while since I last dived." Now, to a non-diver this may seem like a simple question but it really is a big deal. Scuba equipment is basically life support equipment. It is that important, so not knowing how to do a very basic setup was worrying. I was determined that he would not dive with me.

The boat pulled out and headed out to Elbow Reef. As we got farther out to sea, the waves grew progressively worse. They were around 2-4 feet with the occasional wave cresting at 5+feet. By the time we got to the site of our first dive, a girl on the boat threw up all over herself. She was no older than 14 and I felt bad for a second but then I had to get away from it. I cannot be around people who are throwing up. By the time we ended the second dive, 4 out of the 11 passengers on the boat had thrown up and were in verying stages of sea sickness. (I am very proud to report that I was NOT one of the 4 who got sick).

This is on the wreck of the City of Washington (

These little fish followed me around everywhere like the expected to be fed. They were so close that I tried to poke them on several occasions but they were too quick for me.

More from the City of Washington. This was a pretty cool dive. The wreck doesn't look much like a ship and is really just a bunch of metal scraps and pieces strewn across the sand.

On the surface after coming up from a dive. The waves made it interesting getting back on the boat.

Overall, Friday was a long but good day of diving. We did four dives and by the end of the 4th dive I was tired and cold and needed to get out of my wet swimsuit. We also took a pretty good beating with the waves. Our reff dives were only down to about 30 feet at most and so the wave action and current are very strong. It was tiring to fight that all day.
On Saturday we woke up and got out to the dock for the dive I had been looking forward to the whole time. We were going to do 2 dives on the U.S.S Spiegel Grove. The Spiegel Grove is a 510 foot long LSD (Landing Ship Dock). More basic info can be found here:

In a word the dive was amazing. The wreck lies in 130 feet of water but most of the superstructure can be reached at 60-90 feet. We dropped down the morring line and as soon as we got past the thermocline, a huge ship came into view. I was almost breathless.
Here are a few videos to give you a better idea of what it is like:

The Superman pose really was unintentual but I thought it was kind of eery that there was still an American flag on the wreck.

All in all a truly fantastic trip. I am already thinking about when I can dive the Spiegel Grove again.

I would also like to recommend the dive outfit we went with, Silent World. They were great and their website is here: