Sea Emperor & Boca Corridors – July 11, 2015

Water Temp: 83° F
Max Depth: 70 ft.
Start Time: 8:32 pm
Dive Duration: 28 min.
Weather: Partly cloudy
Wind: SE @ 0-5 mph

Current: S @ 2-2.5 knots
Visibility: Horiz. 60 ft.; Vert 65 ft.
Seas: 2-3 ft. or less, choppy
Boat: Dive Boat Diversity

   Dive team consisted of eight divers on Dive Boat Diversity. Team went to this site to count fish and review condition of the artificial reef. Team members were also looking for lionfish in order to eradicate them. The team saw no lionfish on this dive. The dive master dropped in and tied off a ball to the barge. Team needed to descend the line to avoid being carried off the site by the very strong current. The mapping and video team began a slow swim against the current toward the north end of the barge, dropping into the several compartments of the barge along the way to get out of the current. We passed from compartment to compartment until we reached the northern end of the barge. Mapper noted that not too much had changed with the barge and the growth on it. However, a few scuttle holes that had been made in the hull seemed to have increased in their size by about 6-8 inches in diameter.
    Mapper and videographer then moved to the northeast corner of the barge and dropped over the east side of the barge onto the concrete culverts. We tried to find protected areas among the culverts to get out of the current and stop and observe the changes to the culverts. Fortunately, the visibility was very good, and it was possible to view much of the culvert pile from just a few vantage points. The culverts continue to support soft and hard corals and sponges. The team drifted slowly to the south and then went back up over the east edge of the barge to arrive back at the ascent line tied to the dive ball. The mapper had lost his weight belt during the dive and was also fighting to stay down in the strong current. He waited at the line while the videographer roamed over the south end of the barge, while still within sight of the mapper.
   This was a difficult dive, but fish counters were able to get their data. One fish ID team was at each side of the barge and one team had proposed to visit the corridors, which they did. Divers were like flags flapping on a line in the current during the safety stop. Back on the boat, all divers said the dive was a real workout. The dive master was able to recover the mapper’s weight belt when she went down to unhook the ball, which was greatly appreciated. This was the first dive back in the water after several months for two of the divers, and the first below 60 feet for another in almost a year.

Boca Artificial Reef Ledge – July 11, 2015

Water Temp: 83°/74° F
Thermocline at 57-58 ft
   above reef.
Max Depth: 63 ft.
Start Time: 10:03 pm
Dive Duration: 44 min.
Weather: Partly cloudy
Wind: SE @ 0-5 mph

Current: S @ .25 kts, then .25kts to east,    then .75 kts to NNE
Visibility: Horiz. 55 ft.; Vert. 63 ft.
   (top to bottom)
Seas: 2-3 ft. or less, choppy
Boat: Dive Boat Diversity

    Dive team consisted of seven divers on the Dive Boat Diversity, as one of the fish counters didn’t do the second dive. Team went to this site to count fish and review condition of the natural reef as a comparison to the site of Dive #1 on this date. Team members were also looking for lionfish in order to eradicate them. The team saw no lionfish on this dive. However, one of the dive masters checked out the east side of the reef in deeper water and said he saw several large lionfish in that depth range. The dive team was to drift along the reef and work their way to the western edge of the reef, where there was a reef ledge with 8-10 feet of relief. There was a thermocline in the 57-58 ft depth with “squiggly water” and a drop to about 74° F water. This appeared localized, because as we got to the reef ledge and dropped to the deepest depth of 63 ft. there was no thermocline in that area.
   This was a beautiful reef and ledge with many undercuts and holes for the fish to hide in. The soft and hard corals were abundant and appeared healthy. There were also many sponges on the reef. The reef ledge held very large schools of fish. The mapper and videographer had one dive flag and the fish counters had another dive flag. The mappers gathered physical data and observed large schools of Grunts and Silversides, along with about a 7-foot Nurse Shark, a 4-5 foot Green Moray Eel, and a 3-foot diameter Loggerhead Turtle on the reef ledge.
    This was a beautiful second dive and a much more relaxed dive than the first one because of the slacking current. However, the current did do a couple of direction changes during the dive. This made it a little more strenuous for the videographer, who was carrying the flag and working the video camera.

goldfish

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