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Old 10-05-2011, 05:24   #1
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Challenge: The Wife Wants . . . SCUBA

We leave in a few weeks for Key west and possibly dry tortugas or marquesas. The wife wants to bring scuba gear for herself. Having never been to Dt or marquesas is it worth the weight and space to bring such gear or is she better off just snorkeling? If it is much better diving there please let me know I do want her happy. Myself I can free dive comfortably to 40-50' so not too worried about the tanks unless its lobster season

Im not thrilled about lifting dive gear into and out of the boat but we can do it. just alot of weight in tanks and lead.
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Old 10-05-2011, 05:35   #2
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Re: The wife wants....

We were in the Dry Tortugas 2 months ago and never considered diving until we wrapped our anchor chain around an unknown 8 ft ships anchor in 30 ft of water. The wife put the scuba gear on and worked out how to get us free.

The anchor was unknown to the park service even though it is in the main anchorage.

That is the second time in 20 yrs of sailing that we have needed the scuba gear to free the anchor!
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Old 10-05-2011, 06:10   #3
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Re: The wife wants....

YES... without a doubt!
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Old 10-05-2011, 07:27   #4
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Re: The wife wants....

Scuba gear and sailing go great together. Don't forget rule #1 " When the wife is happy everyone is happy."
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Old 10-05-2011, 08:26   #5
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Re: The wife wants....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie View Post
Scuba gear and sailing go great together. Don't forget rule #1 " When the wife is happy everyone is happy."
I thought it was "When the wife is unhappy, everyone is unhappy." The two quotes aren't exactly the same.
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Old 10-05-2011, 08:50   #6
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Re: The wife wants....

Yes absolutely, The Dry Tortugas and the Marquesas Keys are great dive locations in that area.

Just an FYI for all us divers... some of the BEST diving in Florida are drift dives anywhere on the stretch of reefs between the Jupiter Inlet and the Boynton Beach Inlet.
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Old 10-05-2011, 08:59   #7
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Re: The wife wants....

Should be fine as long as she agrees to be the one to scrub the bottom of the boat...
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:10   #8
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Re: The Wife Wants . . .

How about something in between like a power snorkel? No filling tanks always ready,easy to make.
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:51   #9
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Re: The Wife Wants . . .

The depths of the reefs in the area range from 40'-45 ' (tops) to 70'-80' (to the sand).

This isn't in the depths range of what I would want to be in (safety wise) for a hookah rig. I use hookah to about 30' max... deeper and I switch to scuba.
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:12   #10
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Re: The Wife Wants . . .

There are some good SCUBA spots in the area but you will have to leave the anchorage to get there. I usually keep a bit of SCUBA gear on board just for the reasons mentioned by others, like clearing a fouled anchor or crab pot line around the prop. For DT, I usually just use snorkel gear. I think the deepest part of the anchorage is in the 20 ft range and the last time I was there you could clearly see bottom with rays, tarpon, and 'cudas. Popular snorkel spots include the moat around the fort, and the old coal docks. As I recall, this is a breeding ground for nurse sharks so you may see one or two of them. There is also an old sunken schooner to the west of the fort in about 10-15 ft of water. Kind of a long dinghy ride, but doable. I put some extra fuel on board, and a handheld VHF just in case I had to call the park rangers for assistance. I'm not as tolerant of cold as when I was younger so for this time of year you will probably want either a shorty wetsuit or perhaps a 3 mm.

I'm hoping to get back there this year sometime myself. Have fun.

Rich

ps. Keep a good anchor watch. It's thin sand on top of limestone in most places. Once I had been anchored for good 24 hours with no drag and then suddenly started dragging. Fortunately it was morning and everyone was up to haul in the anchor and re-set it. I really wish they would put moorings in so I wouldn't have to sleep in the cockpit.
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:29   #11
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Re: The Wife Wants . . .

We took our SCUBA tanks along with us when we went to SoPac. Even went to the trouble to build special racks under the floorboards to store them. That's where they stayed the whole trip. Only used them once to help a friend retrieve his lost outboard. Don't know which Marquesas you are talking about but where are you going to get the tanks filled?? You probably aren't going to find a compressor at the Marina's in the Dry Tortugas, if there are any marinas, that is. If it's not a problem to bring the tanks, by all means do. If you have any serious work to do below the water line, a tank could come in handy. If it's not convenient to take them, they are probably best left at home base.

Once we got in shape, free diving would get us down as deep as 60' without much of a problem and provided us with much of our protein from spear fishing. The secret to free diving is weighting yourself to just slightly negative buoyancy. Without weights, you waste most of your energy and air getting down to about 15' where the pressures compress your body enough so it loses buoyancy. With the weights, you just get yourself pointed down and give a couple of kicks to send you deep with almost no energy required. After a but of time free diving everyday, was able to get to some pretty extreme depths and/or have plenty of bottom for exploring or hunting. BTW, lobster gets old after you eat it for four or five days in a row.
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:54   #12
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Re: The Wife Wants . . .

You're right Roverhi,

There are no marinas or facilities of any kind at either destination. Definitely no place for air fills unless you bring your own compressor. That's why one year we did bring our honda powered hookah. Their is a gift shop at Fort Jefferson but it is restricted to things like film, t-shirts and small books. You bring your own food and water. Rules keep changing over the years so those interested should perhaps check their website.

Dry Tortugas National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

For example, there used to be commercial fishing boats that would anchor there for protection. Commonly they would motor through the anchorage trading fresh seafood for booze. A 1 liter bottle of Captain Morgan rum got us a 10 lb grouper and a 2 gallon ziploc bag full of fresh shrimp. After cleaning the grouper we tied the head to a piece of twine and put it over side. Lawwdy, it was like there were piranha! It didn't last 10 seconds before the cuda were all over it. Anyway, at least in theory that trading is no longer allowed from what I hear. Or maybe it still goes on but less blatantly. Next time I'll bring the rum and if there is no trading, at least I'll have rum.

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Old 10-05-2011, 12:00   #13
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Re: The Wife Wants . . .

I would not take the scuba gear. There are great expanses of shallow reef around the west side of Loggerhead key and some deeper snorkeling opportunities toward the "French Wreck" that has the bit of bow stuck out of the water about a mile south of Loggerhead. All around Fort Jefferson there's bits of interest lying in just a few feet of water. We haven't found much of excitment around the Maquesas. The north side is a big expanse of mud and coral marl,- maybe we missed what's good there.
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Old 03-07-2011, 19:20   #14
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Re: The Wife Wants . . .

Definitely would recommend you take your scuba gear the diving is some of the best there is in the world and certainly Florida. I've seen 100 ft visibility, lots of fish, lobster, coral reefs, wrecks and plenty more. You will regret not having it when you see the surrounding waters.
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Old 03-07-2011, 19:47   #15
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Re: The Wife Wants . . .

If the weight and space is the biggest concern, consider scaling down the gear and practice the 'tropical minimalist' way. Which is basically skipping the BCD and weight belt in favor of a backplate with no wetsuit. All you really have to make space for is the tank.
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