05 March 2013

I Had to Cry Today!

Well let me back up some so you can understand why!

This AM at 0600 I departed the RV and drove up to Tavernier, in the Keys at MM 90.5 to the Conch Republic Dive Shop, they claim to be the Friendliest Dive shop in the Keys and I dive with them regularly and would only add they are also real professionals; but I digress.  The drive up was beautiful, sunrise over the Overseas Highway is as spectacular as sunset!   I love driving the Overseas Highway anytime I can during daylight!
Bikers especially love the Overseas Highway, too!

So I loaded my gear on the Republic Diver and we went out to the Spiegel Grove for the first dive.  Seas were flat, current was not, and viz was great.  Had a great dive on this very large ship, it has been two years since I last dove it and today I was just interested in taking it easy.  It has been two years since I did much diving and 6 months since I was last in the water.  So I wanted to make sure all my gear was operating properly. I was paired up with two dive buddies and I told them I would just follow them and I was not interested in going in any holes I could see no exit to.  Water temp was about 75 and I was comfortable, with the good viz and no current it was like gliding thru the air.  With a few fin kicks you could glide along motionless.  Fish were around but not especially abundant today, but that was OK.  After about 40 minutes dive time my air supply was reaching the point I needed to head slowly toward the surface, and same for my two buddies.  We had a nice slow ascent up the anchor line and back on the very comfortable Republic Diver which was less then half full today with 10 divers and two crew members.
About a 30 minute cruise and we were at our second dive site, the US Coast Guard Cutter Duane.  It has been down about 25 years and has its own collection of fish and growth.  By the time we got suited up we had met our Surface Interval demand  and we got wet again.  The normal collection of big barracuda were hanging around the water column about half way between the surface and the ship superstructure where we were tied off.  Again it was a nice leisurely dive, I got to spend some more time with my new dive computer, becoming more familiar with it!  I had the old one along too and they both were giving me same info which was comforting, the new one just gives me more info then the older one!   There was a Goliath Grouper hanging around the starboard side forward deck.  He was about 4 1/2 to 5 feet long and I swam out to him and hung with him for a short while about 3-4 feet from him.  If I had moved in closer he would have probably darted away.  Later over on the starboard side I was hanging in the water column several feet off the port side and I looked down and saw this same Grouper (or his twin brother) moving very rapidly toward the aft of the ship right along the bottom where the hull and the bottom meet.  Goliath Grouper always seem to move so slow and unconcerned so it was unusual to see one moving so rapidly and with a seeming purpose!  
At about the 35 minute mark I noticed my allowed dive time was coming to an end so my computers were telling me.  I was glad to see I still had air to last beyond that, meaning I was doing a good job of conserving my air.  In my earlier days of diving I would "run" out of air supply and still have allotted dive time.  I was not sure what to expect today as I have not been diving regularly.   BTW – I would not actually "run out of air", it just meant I had to go up early since the alternative of not doing so was unpleasant! 
The half-full dive boat!
OK, so two great dives.  I do not have any pics because as I said I really wanted to use these dives to reintroduce myself to the watery environment and make sure all my gear was operating properly so I did not bring along my underwater camera.
After another nice boat ride in the warm afternoon sun back to the dock I unloaded my gear, rinsed it in the rinse tanks and left it to drain while I went down the road a short distance to Craig's Restaurant and had his World Famous Fish sandwich.  Ummm good.  I went back collected by gear, including two tanks Jason, the Diver master, had filled for me  and, headed west along the beautiful Overseas Highway.  Have I ever told you what a beautiful drive that is??
What a beautiful day on Vaca Cut!
I stopped at the Vaca Cut right before Marathon and grabbed two geocaches just because it was a beautiful day to be outside. 
Oliva, my faithful geosteed with her travelling companions Pickle and Banana
So now I am resuming my trip back to the RV in Key West and I am thinking about what a fabulous day this has been, clear sky, no wind, great visibility in the water,  beautiful highway, great vistas as your travel and I am listening to Radio Margaritaville the way!  And then it dawns on me, we have to leave here in just 2 more moths – that made me cry!
And, it gets better.  When I get back to the RV, BJ is nowhere to be found.  So I start looking around and down a few RVs and on the water front there is a fish fry party going on.  One of the RVers who fish regularly invited any and all to come on over while they fried fish.  Others brought other goodies! And, we all sat around a watched the sun set over Key West and enjoying a Happy Hour!  I started crying again!
Happy Hour on the water front with friends! 

Always at home, no matter where we are!