Monday, August 15, 2005
  Sunday in the Water
Alli & I went diving Sunday morning with Donna, Bill, Susan, and Donna's friend Kevin. We were going to go at Victoria Park, but they had parking and I had a very unexciting experience diving there before. As Datura & Hibiscus are at present being ripped apart, leaving them parking- and shower-less, I suggested the condo at last minute. Good call.

We somehow lost the others within the first, oh, five minutes of the dive. This is okay, as Alli was carrying a flag. We had a nice, leisurely dive. After the dive, we showered and hung out under the patio umbrellas and talked for a while. Then the rest of the gang took off as Alli went for food and air fills. After refueling, we went back in the water.

On this dive, Alli pointed out this completely weird, alien creature. You know those wide, deep holes that go on as far as you can see? Well, creatures do live in them, and we saw it. It is some kind of mantis. Some ALIEN mantis. Big huge eyes. Seriously weird. We also saw the biggest moray eel I've ever seen.. four or five feet? And not being shy at all. It was awesome.

And now for the weirdest part - thermoclines! The viz was SO BAD on our second dive that I lost Alli at one point and surfaced.. She had surfaced too and we were all of 15 feet apart. The water was also HOT. Hot hot hot. Annoyingly hot. At one point, when I was laying in the sand to get a good look at something tiny, I felt the water was cooler down there. As we swam east, that cooler thermocline fortunately began to take up the bottom five feet rather than just the bottom one foot. Alli & I swam as close as we could to the reef to enjoy the cooler water. The temperature difference was crazy, though - I could raise my hand and the water up there was HOT. Many degrees warmer. I only wish I had the computer on at the time. Also, the warmer water was where the bad viz was, so while we swam in the cool water, it was as if we were swimming under a hazy sky. If I raised my head into it, I couldn't see ten feet away; Alli disappeared. Lower again and there Alli and the fish were, plain as day.

I had the best time diving Sunday that I had had in a while. It was as it should be - relaxed, a walk through the woods. I love it down there. :)
That's great. We used to refer to that as a cold water intrusion (when the thermocline was so shallow and so close to shore). It's usually caused by the winds blowing from west to east, a land breeze, pushing all the warm surface water away from shore. The resulting void is filled by DEEP water, which is colder obviously, and VERY clear. Also westerly winds tend to calm the seas, so it usually makes for a good dive day all around.
I see that often in PCB around the jetties and the wrecks. Usually about 10 feet under the water turns about 7-10 degrees colder. It can change the vis too. Sunday the jetties were clear after about 15 feet under the thermocline and the cooler water. In the warmer water you couldn't see 5 feet in front of you. Weird stuff. Glad to hear you're still diving!
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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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